Milford man, 21, dead after Dewey Beach incident

Details will be released after Delaware State Police investigation
March 19, 2022

A 21-year-old Milford man was shot and killed by a Dewey Beach police officer in the early morning hours of March 19.

Speaking at press conference at Troop 7, Master Cpl. Heather Pepper of the Delaware State Police said the Dewey Beach Police Department requested the investigation be conducted by the DSP homicide unit and the Delaware Department of Justice Division of Civil Rights and Public Trust.

About 1:17 a.m., March 19, Dewey Beach police officers were notified by employees of The Starboard that a male patron, identified as Rodney K. Robinson II, exited the restaurant with a gun, Pepper said. Officers attempted to contact Robinson outside the establishment, but he fled on foot southbound on Coastal Highway, Pepper said.

Officers chased Robinson for about three blocks but lost sight of him and could not locate him, Pepper said. At about 2:23 a.m., Dewey Beach dispatch received a call from an employee of The Starboard that Robinson had returned to the business and was located in an employee-only area, Pepper said.

Two Dewey Beach police officers responded and located Robinson who was alone in the outside tented area, Pepper said. When officers attempted to contact him, Pepper said, Robinson fled north on Coastal Highway, turned west onto Saulsbury Street and then into an alley on Saulsbury Street. 

“At that time, pursuing officers located the male and a single gunshot was fired by a one-and-a-half year veteran officer by his departmentally issued firearm,” Pepper said.

Robinson fled on foot and was located behind a commercial building in the 2100 block of Coastal Highway, Pepper said. Officers found him unconscious with a single wound to the upper torso. They also located a handgun at the scene, Pepper said. Life-saving measures were performed and EMS was called, Pepper said. 

Robinson was transferred to Beebe Healthcare, where he was pronounced deceased. 

“The Division of Forensic Science will be conducting an autopsy to determine the cause and manner of death,” Pepper said.

Pepper asked anyone who witnessed or who has video surveillance footage to contact the DSP homicide unit at 302-741-2703, to send a private message to DSP via Facebook or to call Crime Stoppers at 1-800-847-3333.

Dewey Beach police Sgt. Cliff Dempsey said the department offers sincere condolences to all those who had loved ones affected by the event.

“We want to assure the public that our department strives to always conduct themselves in the highest level of professionalism and service to our community and visitors,” Dempsey said. “Our department had several officers who were affected by this incident, and being a smaller department, an investigation like this can be very overwhelming.”

Allied agencies are providing officers for supplemental patrols to ensure the safety of the community, Dempsey said.

Saulsbury Street in the area of Coastal Highway was closed for several hours while an investigation took place.

In a Facebook post March 19, The Starboard stated that no employees were involved in the incident, all employees are safe and that the restaurant was open.

“Our thoughts and prayers go out to those involved,” the post states. “Safety for our staff and customers are always a top priority here.”


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