A Maryland community bank is pitching in to help the family of a Baltimore County policeman gunned down Monday in a jewelry robber near the bank's headquarters.

Maryland Permanent Bank in Owings Mills has set up a fund for the wife and five children of Sgt. Bruce A. Prothero, 35.

Sgt. Prothero was working his part-time job as the store's security guard when gun-toting robbers entered, smashed display cases and stole $438,000 of watches and jewelry, police said. One of the robbers held Sgt. Prothero by the neck.

When the two men fled to their car, Sgt. Prothero followed. He was shot in a store parking lot.

A suspect was apprehended Wednesday.

"Our bank is right across from the police station, and most of us at this bank have gone into that store to buy jewelry," said Michael Meisel, chairman and chief executive officer of $135 million-asset Maryland Permanent. "This is just a tragedy, and it happened right in our backyard."

The bank has promised to match 25 cents for each $1 contributed to the fund.

- Alan Kline

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