Three Wilmington, Delaware, police officers were shot overnight while responding to a call on Wednesday evening as officials directed area residents to shelter in place.
In one of its initial statements, the Wilmington Police Department said, “Those located in the area between 23rd Street and 27th Street, from West Street to Carter Street, are asked to shelter in place and await further instructions from police.”
One area activist said that he believed a division between police and community helped contribute to Wednesday night’s shooting and that he witnessed area residents swearing at officers as they carried their injured brothers in blue from the scene.
What are the details?
According to a report from WCAU-TV, the gunman — who remains unnamed at the time of this reporting — opened fire on officers during what authorities said was an hours-long standoff that ran into the early hours of Thursday morning.
Officers were responding to a service call at the King Plaza Apartments when a suspect inside a nearby apartment building reportedly opened fire on responding officers.
Three officers were injured during the standoff and were transported to nearby hospitals for treatment. Officials now say that the three officers are in stable condition.
An area resident told the station that she heard approximately 10 to 15 shots ring out on Wednesday night. She rushed outside and said she discovered a police officer carrying another officer.
“I saw a Wilmington police officer carrying another Wilmington police officer,” the unnamed witness said. “He laid him down on the street in front of his police car; it looked like they started to work on him.”
At one point during the night, first responders were seen using a fire truck ladder to enter the building through a window. Later, a woman and a small child were seen exiting the window and coming down the ladder. The pair’s connection to the attack on officers is unknown at the time of this reporting.
In a statement, Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) said, “Tracey [Quillen Carney] and I are praying for the Wilmington PD officers shot in the line of duty, their families, and their fellow members of Delaware’s law enforcement community.”
Delaware Sen. Chris Coons (D) added, “I am praying for the wounded officers of the Wilmington Police Department and thankful that they are in stable condition, on the path toward a speedy recovery.”
Jamie Leonard, who is president of the Delaware State Lodge Fraternal Order of Police, said that the “uptick in officers who have been shot” this year is concerning.
“First and foremost, we’re happy that this situation did not end up worse than what it did. We are ecstatic that these officers are expected to make a full recovery,” Leonard said. “This is a local example of the climate towards law enforcement that you’re seeing exemplified all across this country, and it’s reflective of the national statistics where we’ve seen a 20% uptick in officers who have been shot in the line of duty this year, as compared to this point last year. And unfortunately, yesterday we added three more officers to that tally. We hope that the tide begins to change and people recognize the sacrifices that the law enforcement officers in Delaware make, day in and day out, to protect the residents and citizens that they serve.”
The Delaware News Journal on Thursday reported that Wilmington activist Rev. Derrick “Pastor D” Johnson said that he believed mistrust in the police played a role in the incident.
“There’s a gap in Wilmington between police and community, and the perception is that we’re a community under siege,” he said, adding that area residents were “yelling profanities” at officers who were carrying out other wounded officers.
The investigation is ongoing, and police have yet to announce any suspects or arrests in the shooting.