STEVENSON, Md. - Former Baltimore police commissioner Fred Bealefeld said he was made and is still made after he and a group of Stevenson University were robbed while on a school-sponsored trip to South Africa.
Bealefeld was a chaperon on the trip and he was one of the first people to have contact with the armed gunman when he came on the bus. His police experience took a back seat that day.
“My parental instincts took over…,” Bealefeld said. “We needed to get the students home safe.
As Bealefeld and the students were in the middle of one of the most frightening experiences in their lives, Carol Fearns was back home trying to enjoy herself.
“I was looking forward to nice day,” she said. “The first Mother’s Day by myself and I was kicking back with a nice glass of wine when I got an email.”
The email informed her of the armed robber and her thoughts went to her daughter who was on that bus.
“That was one of the hardest things i ever had to deal with,” Feams said.
Feams’ daughter, Caitlin, shared some pictures from the trip that showed her group and their bus. Some of her fellow students reacted quickly, passing cash and belongings so the gunman never made it to the back, allowing Caitlin to hold onto one valuable possession.
“This is my dad’s wedding ring,” said Caitlin as she showed off the jewelry. “He passed away in 2012 and it's the only thing I have of his. If I lost it I don't know what I would do.”
Although the trip did not turn out the way Carol would have liked for her daughter. She did have some thoughts about her daughter going on another trip.
“If she wanted to go again, that would be cool with me,” she said.
Caitlin wouldn't argue. She may have only one story she brought back with her from South Africa, but it's one that will last a lifetime.
“This is one I can tell my grandchildren,” Caitlin Feams said.