Second Veterans Cemetery Victim Succumbs To His Injuries, Killer Identified

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Bear – The Delaware State Police have identified 29-year-old Sheldon C. Francis of Middletown, as the suspect responsible for the shooting of an elderly Elkton, Maryland couple on the grounds of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery on Friday.

The 86-year-old male victim was initially admitted to an area hospital in critical condition on Saturday has succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital. The 85-year-old female victim was pronounced deceased on scene at the time of the original incident. The identification of both victims is pending notification of next of kin.

Francis was located deceased at approximately 4:00 p.m. on the date of the incident in a wooded area located just off of Brennan Blvd., in the development of Brennan Estates, which is adjacent to the grounds of the cemetery. This wooded area was where an exchange of gunfire between Francis and officers took place at approximately 12:08 p.m. Upon being located Francis was confirmed to have sustained a gunshot wound. It is undetermined at this time if the wound was self-inflicted or as a result of the exchange of gunfire.

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.

Original Story

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 on Friday morning, May 8, 2020, on the grounds of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery, located at 2465 Chesapeake City Road.

At approximately 10:13, 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 at the scene, the male was transported to an area hospital in critical condition. Initial reports from the scene also advised that a subject was 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 into 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, officials advised area residents to shelter in place via a reverse 911 call. 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 is 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. Athorities from Maryland also responded to help cordon off the area

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.


Breaking Report

Bear – Just before 10:30 Friday morning, 911 call takers began receiving reports of a shooting at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery AT 2465 Chesapeake City Road.

As Troopers began responding to the scene they were receiving reports that a suspect had shot two people with a rifle and fled into the wood line near Brennen Estates.

As the Troopers and County officers began to flood the area, Maryland authorities were contacted to seal off the western side of the perimeter close to the state line.

First to arrive at the cemetery were a female Trooper and a DNREC officer. Not knowing where the suspect was, the Trooper made her way to the shooting victims and reported that two people were down, both shot in the head. She reported that one had already succumbed to their wounds and requested that an ambulance, which was staged near the scene, to respond to the scene. One patient was transported to the hospital in critical condition.

As they scoured the area for the suspect, believed to be in the woods, police officers began reporting that the suspect was in the woods about 40 yards from Route 896. Several officers had to take shelter behind the Jersey Barrier on Route 896 after the suspect reportedly opened fire on them. The suspect, described as a heavyset black male about 6ft tall carrying a rifle with a scope on it, has yet to be captured.

As of 2:00 Friday afternoon, authorities are still searching for the suspect in the woods. He has been spotted several times and several volleys of gunfire could be heard coming from the area.

Three Delaware State Police helicopters and a Wilmington Police drone have been deployed to search for the suspect from the air.

Several residents in the area were been evacuated from their homes and taken to the secure facility not far from the scene.

About Staff Writer

First State Update's Delaware editorial team covers New Castle County, Kent County and Sussex County breaking news, political news, and general news stories. We bring the reader the latest news from the Wilmington, Newark, Dover, Rehoboth Beach and all point in between. If you have news to share, email us at desk@firststateupdate.com.

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