Who was Sergeant Bruce Prothero? How was Wes Moore involved in his murder?
Sergeant Bruce Prothero worked at the Baltimore County police department and was shot during Wes Moore’s robbery of J. Brown Jewelers.
Continue reading to learn about the shooting of Bruce Prothero.
The Shooting of Sergeant Bruce Prothero
The store was J. Brown Jewelers in Baltimore County. Two masked gunmen entered on the afternoon of February 7 and forced everyone to the ground. Two other masked men entered, smashed the glass cases housing the jewels, and put the loot in bags.
One of the people on the ground was the security guard Bruce Prothero. However, people mostly knew him as Sergeant Bruce Prothero of the Baltimore County police department. He was thirty-five years old, a thirteen-year veteran of the police force, and the father of five children under the age of six, including baby triplets. It was his day off, but he was covering for a friend.
Sergeant Bruce Prothero watched the robbers pillage the store and make their way out with almost a half-million in jewels. The masked men ran to two cars in the lot next door. Sergeant Bruce Prothero ran through the entrance, gun in hand, and followed the perpetrators through the lot. He hid behind cars, peeking up to see where the men had run to. He had no idea that one of the cars he stooped behind was a getaway car. As he raised up to look through the window, a gloved hand aimed a gun at him and fired.
Bruce Prothero was shot once in the head and once in the chest. He stood and ran back toward the store, but he didn’t make it far. After ten feet, he collapsed and bled out.
Baltimore City averaged three hundred murders a year, making it one of the deadliest places in the country. But in Baltimore County, murders weren’t as common, especially those involving law enforcement. The jewelry store crime had hit two nerves at once, and everyone wanted to catch the vicious criminals.
The day after the burglary, a wiretap of an uninvolved drug dealer led to the capture of one of the burglars when he tried to sell the stolen items to the dealer. From him, they received the names of the other men. This information led to the capture of another suspect. Both claimed they weren’t the shooter.
Twelve days after the robbery, Wes Moore strolled down a Philadelphia street with his brother Tony. He carried a sandwich and a new pair of jeans. He spotted a police cruiser down the block. When they got closer, he saw two men inside speaking into walkie talkies. This wasn’t the first time Wes had seen the cruiser. Twice earlier in the day, the same car had been parked nearby in different parts of the city.
Wes figured if the men were after him and Tony, they would have picked them up by now. He kept walking without giving it much thought. The two went back to their uncle’s house in a rundown neighborhood on the north side. Wes went up to the room he and Tony shared and started to eat his sandwich. Tony said he needed to run out and went back down the stairs. Wes heard Tony’s footsteps bounding down, but he didn’t hear the door shut behind him.
Wes took another bite, then went to shut the door. When Wes reached the bottom of the stairs, his eyes landed on Tony face first on the ground. A cop was cinching handcuffs on his wrists. A pack of officers jumped on Wes before he could move and pointed guns in his face. The manhunt was over.
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Here's what you'll find in our full The Other Wes Moore summary:
- How two men from similar communities can have vastly different lives
- What led one Wes Moore to become a Rhodes Scholar
- What led the other Wes Moore to a life sentence