A Milford police officer is in critical but stable condition after he was shot during an exchange of gunfire with a wanted man Dec. 10 at the Econo Lodge on Route 1 outside Rehoboth Beach.
Delaware State Police spokesperson Cpl. Heather Pepper said the incident occurred just before 8 p.m., when officers assigned with the First State Violent Fugitive Taskforce responded to the hotel in an attempt to apprehend a 37-year-old man from Reading, Pa., who was wanted for attempted criminal homicide.
The 38-year-old officer is a 13-year veteran with the Milford Police Department and assigned full time to the First State Violent Fugitive Taskforce.
The wanted man was also shot during the exchange of gunfire and was pronounced deceased at the scene. A handgun was located at the scene. The name of the subject is being withheld until notification to next of kin.
A Delaware State Police trooper and a Probation & Parole officer involved with the incident were not injured. The trooper involved in this shooting has been placed on administrative leave per divisional policy.
Attorney General Kathleen Jennings thanked the three officers for their bravery during the incident and said she is praying for the injured officer.
“My thoughts – and those of every person in this department – are with a Milford police officer who was hospitalized after being wounded during a U.S. Marshals Service operation last night,” she said in a press release. “Milford is a small town with a dedicated police force – like the rest of our state, the relationships are close. The attempt on this officer and his fellow officers' lives has only been public for a short time, but I know that his entire community is hurt, angry, and rooting hard for a swift recovery. All of us at the DOJ are, too.
“Anyone can say that law enforcement is a dangerous job, but in moments like this it is impossible to capture the inherent risk that our officers accept, head on, every time they go to work. Many of the staff at the DOJ – from our investigators to our chief of staff – were Delaware police officers. We don't just share a mission; we are a family.”
The Econo Lodge released a statement regarding the incident.
This investigation remains active, and the Division of Forensic Science is assisting with the investigation.
Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Capt. P. Sawyer with the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit by calling 302-741-2727. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com.
This story has been updated with new information.