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Superintendent Colonel Melissa Zebley
Bear – The Delaware State Police have confirmed that an 85 year old female, and 86 year old male, husband and wife from Elkton, Maryland were the victims of a shooting that took place earlier today on the grounds of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, located at 2465 Chesapeake City Rd., in Bear.
At approximately 10:13 a.m., Friday, May 8, 2020 Troopers were dispatched to the cemetery for a report of shots being fired. The first arriving officers on scene located the victims and confirmed that they both had sustained gunshot wounds. The female victim was pronounced deceased at the scene, the male was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. Initial reports from the scene also advised that a subject had been seen running into an adjacent wooded area immediately after the gunshots were heard.
At approximately 11:08 a.m., officers on scene observed a male subject running into a wooded area, between the cemetery and Brennan Blvd., in the development of Brennan Estates. Officers immediately secured the area where the subject was observed.
At approximately 12:08 p.m., an exchange of gunfire took place between officers on scene and the suspect in the wooded area. During this exchange no law enforcement officers were injured.
At approximately 4:00 p.m., officers made entry in to the wooded area where they located the suspect who was confirmed to be deceased. They also observed that the suspect, a 29 year old Middletown man, had sustained an apparent gunshot wound. It is undetermined at this time if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or as a result of the earlier exchange of gunfire.
The Delaware Division of Forensic Science will perform autopsies to determine the cause and manner of the deaths.
During the course of the incident, communication had been made with area residents via a reverse 911 call, and advised to shelter in place. Some residents who were in closer proximity to the incident were temporarily evacuated. Multiple area roadways were also closed during the operation.
Upon locating the suspect the area was deemed secure at which time the evacuees were able to return home and roadways were re-opened. Based on the nature of the incident a large police presence remained in the area as part of the ongoing investigation.
While the Delaware State Police are the primary investigating agency, during today’s operation they received assistance from multiple allied agencies from the federal, state and local levels, who provided manpower and resources, to include the ATF, FBI, U.S. Marshals, DNREC, New Castle County P.D., Wilmington P.D., Dover P.D., Newark P.D., N.C.C. EMS and DELDOT.
The investigation is active and ongoing and will be furthered by the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Det. M. Ryde by calling 302-698-8557.
Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com
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Presented by Public Information Officer, Master Corporal Michael Austin
Released: 050820 2040