A Rehoboth Beach man who was shot by police Feb. 19 following a high speed chase has been charged in connection with the chase and with thefts from six Cape Region businesses – the last theft taking place minutes before the shooting, police say.
Keith M. Schueller, 42, was charged with aggravated menacing, possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, disregarding a police officer signal, leaving the scene of property collision accident, reckless driving, malicious mischief by motor vehicle and traffic charges in connection with the police chase, said Sgt. Paul Shavack of the Delaware State Police.
Police had been searching for Schueller in connection with a series of burglaries and thefts Feb. 18, when they found a Jeep matching the description of his vehicle, Shavack said. Police towed the vehicle to Blue Hen Towing on Feb. 18, but at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 19, Schueller entered the impound yard, forcibly removed the fence and drove off in his vehicle, Shavack said. About 15 minutes later, a trooper identified as Cpl. Lewis W. Briggs in court records saw Schueller driving on Route 1 near Dartmouth Drive. According to court records, Briggs called for assistance and Trooper Brett Cordrey joined him as Schueller drove onto Postal Lane. Schueller turned into Sandy Brae neighborhood and had driven a short distance when Briggs said he activated his emergency equipment to initiate a stop, court records state.
The chase wound through Sandy Brae neighborhood and back out to Postal Lane where Schueller crashed his Jeep into another car at the intersection of Postal Lane and Plantation Road, Shavack said.
An attempt by Cordrey to Taser Schueller was unsuccessful, Shavack said, and Schueller ran through a horse farm before police cornered him near a neighboring barn. There, police said, Schueller picked up a 5-foot shovel and swung it at the trooper in a threatening manner. Cordrey discharged one round from his weapon and struck Schueller in what police describe as the upper body, which the Cape Gazette earlier reported as in the chest.
By definition, the upper body can include any area above the waist. Shavack said it was above the waist – the torso area – but would not give any more detail.
"The upper body is what I can give you now. I don't know the specific location," he said.
Police said Cordrey has been on the police force for three years. He has been on administrative leave with pay since the shooting, pending the outcome of the investigation, Shavack said.
Following the shooting, Schueller was taken to Beebe Medical Center and then Christiana Hospital where his mother, Marty Owers, said surgeons were unable to remove the bullet.
Owers said Schueller cannot walk and has not seen a doctor since he was taken to prison.
He has been in Vaughn Correctional Center since Feb. 27 on $3,000 secured bond in connection with theft charges. One is a misdemeanor for driving away with about $80 in gas from a service station Feb. 16 after his debit card was denied for payment, according to court records. He also faces a theft charge in connection with taking $2,000 Feb. 8 from a relative – a felony because the relative is more than 62 years old.
Schueller was upset and told his relative Feb. 11 that he had relapsed on drugs and had taken the $2,000, court records state.
His bond is now $56,000 secured. It increased March 13 when police filed a battery of new charges for incidents Feb. 18: Theft less than $1,500 when Schueller entered Auto Equity Loans on Coastal Highway at noon Feb. 18 and fled with a bank bag containing an undisclosed amount of money; shoplifting of less than $1,500 when he entered Famous Footwear in the Seaside Outlets at 5:17 p.m. Feb. 18 and fled with two boxes of Nikes; shoplifting of less than $1,500 when he entered Uncle Willies Texaco on Coastal Highway at 6:12 p.m., took lottery tickets and fled; and third-degree burglary, wearing a disguise during the commission of a felony, possession of burglar tools, theft less than $1,500 and criminal when he broke the front door glass of the Safeway Gas Station at 7:56 p.m. on Coastal Highway. Once inside, police said, Schueller took lottery tickets and drove away in his Jeep. A surveillance camera caught the Jeep on tape.
Schueller also faces a shoplifting charge for less than $1,500 when police said he entered Rehoboth Cigarette Outlet on Miller Road at 9:18 a.m. Feb. 19 and fled with lottery tickets.
He faces theft of services, criminal mischief and second-degree criminal trespass when he went to Blue Hen Towing on New Road at 12:45 p.m. Feb. 19 and drove away with his Jeep, Shavack said.