Maryland State Senate candidate accused of campaigning at memorial service for fallen firefighter

- Candidates for office are canvassing neighborhoods for votes during the thick of the political campaign season but one candidate in Maryland reportedly went looking for votes at a memorial service for a fallen firefighter in Calvert County.

Firefighters from around the region have come to the beautiful bayside community of North Beach, Maryland to pay their respects to Rescue Capitan Pat Osburn.

After 18 years with the North Beach Fire Department, Osburn died after experiencing a medical emergency while on a call. During Osburn’s viewing Wednesday evening, North Beach Fire Department Chief Joey Keller said hundreds of attendees came out to campaign cards for Rou Etienne Jr, a Republican candidate for the Maryland State Senate.

“Not only was it a death of one of our members that’s been around here for a very long time but it was a line of duty death so it makes it that much more emotional,” Keller explained to FOX 5. “I just thought it was very distasteful and so did everybody else that came out and found it on their car.”

Since the incident, dozens of Osburn’s family, friends and colleagues have taken to Etienne’s Facebook page to express their displeasure. FOX 5 has also confirmed that Etienne serves as a chaplain for the Baden Volunteer Fire Department in Prince George’s County.

“I think anybody with any kind of common sense wouldn't do it at a funeral or anything where anybody's emotions are very high,” Keller said. “I couldn’t believe it because it’s just in very poor taste.”

Etienne released the following comment to FOX 5 on Sunday: “I have made a public apology on social media for a mistake that I made in placing my campaign information on vehicles after a homegoing service. I am deeply and sincerely sorry if I offended anyone as that was not my intent.”

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