Proud of our community and Delaware State Police

August 7, 2018

On Saturday, July 28, the news that our neighbors, two houses from ours, were the victims of a home invasion, kidnapping and robbery shattered the tranquility of our neighborhood. It was a horrendous and traumatic ordeal for our neighbors who are both in their 80s.

The suspect has been apprehended but, most importantly, our neighbors suffered only minor injuries and the promise of aches and pains for the next week or two. Their bravery and courage is to be admired and their will to survive is what helped them get through this terrible ordeal.

I spent time with them Saturday night, and I was glad to see that they were holding up well and their sense of humor was still intact; but they will need our support in the coming weeks.

I write this letter not as the Speaker of the House but as a proud member of our community. I'm proud of the victims of this crime who did not succumb to fear but persevered through the most trying of circumstances and can now look back on it and find humor in some of their actions and actually spar with each other as to who did what and when.

And, I'm proud of our community and the unofficial grapevine that exists between us. From my wife walking house to house to warn and inform the neighbors as the suspect was still on the run in the area, to the many calls from neighbors asking questions and giving important information to us about the suspect which was passed on to the State Police and for the many neighbors who stopped to check on the two victims. We are a caring community who watch out for each other.

And, I want to say thank you to the men and women of the Delaware State Police who responded and successfully investigated this crime.

A special thanks to Troop 7 Troop Commander, Capt. Darren Short, who responded from home and took command of the investigation.

After leaving the scene where the victims were found, he responded to the victims' house and made sure it was secured for processing by the Criminalistics Unit. He briefed us on what happened and even checked the surrounding houses to make sure there were no more victims.

The police identified the suspect within minutes and had him in custody before dark. Throughout the afternoon, Captain Short called with periodic updates and called when they arrested the defendant, effectively putting a neighborhood at ease again.

Throughout the ordeal, the police treated the victims with utmost respect and were very responsive to the concerns of our community. In my mind, the police were very professional and did a great job. On behalf of our neighborhood, we want to say thank you Capt. Short for a job well done.

This commentary was submitted by Pete Schwartzkopf and his wife, Carol. Pete, 14th District Representative,
is speaker of Delaware's House of Representatives and former commander of Troop 7 serving eastern Sussex County.


  • Cape Gazette commentaries are written by readers whose occupations, education, community positions or demonstrated focus in particular areas offer an opportunity to expand our readership's understanding or awareness of issues of interest.

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