Authorities have arrested a Towne Point Elementary custodian in connection with the Tuesday night, August 28, 2018, shooting death of 39-year-old Derrick Combs.
Combs was found suffering from multiple gunshot wounds on school grounds just before 10:00 pm by Dover Police, who had responded to the school for reports of shots fired. He was later pronounced dead.
The overnight shooting prompted officials to close the school on Wednesday and to cancel the school’s open house.
Earlier on Wednesday morning, Mark Hoffman, Public Information Officer for the Dover Police Department indicated that detectives had learned enough information to believe the incident was not a random act. At that time he said there is no threat to Towne Point Elementary and police have identified a person of interest.
This morning, Thursday, August 30, 2018, Hoffman announced the arrest of Rodney West, 53, in connection with the shooting death early this morning. A search of public records shows that West is a custodian at the elementary school, located at 629 Buckson Drive. Hoffman confirmed that West is an employee of the school.
West was arrested by the US Marshal’s in Montgomery County, Maryland and is currently being held pending his extradition to Delaware.
Delaware authorities have charged West with Murder 1st Degree, Possession of a Firearm During Commission of Felony, and Possession of Firearm Safe School Zone
Correction by Dover police: “In the updated story announcing the arrest of Rodney West as the suspect in the Towne Point Elementary School shooting death of Derrick Combs, Combs was incorrectly listed as an employee of the school. Rodney West, the suspect in custody, was an employee of the school.”
The Dover Police Department is investigating the shooting death of a 39-year-old man on Tuesday night. At approximately 9:58PM on August 28th, officers responded to Towne Point Elementary School for a report of shots fired with a subject lying on the ground. Upon arrival, officers located Derrick Combs who had suffered multiple gunshot wounds and was deceased, according to M/Cpl. Mark Hoffman, Public Information Officer.
Hoffman said during the preliminary investigation, detectives have learned enough information to believe this was not a random act and there is no threat to Towne Point Elementary and have identified a person of interest. There were no students at the school at the time of the incident.
Out of an abundance of caution, the Capital School District has closed Towne Point Elementary on August 28th, 2018. For questions pertaining to Capital School District, please contact Candace McCarthy (Public Relations) at 302-672-1500
Dr. Dan Shelton, Superintendent of Capital School District, released the following statement: “… Dover Police Department works very closely with the Capital School District in incidents involving our schools. We have no reason to believe that there is currently any potential threat against any of our students or staff. This is an ongoing investigation by the Dover Police Department.
In the spirit of utmost caution, Towne Point Elementary will remain closed today, Wednesday, August 29th.
As you know, the Capital School District takes student and staff safety very seriously and are saddened by the unfortunate events that may take place in our neighborhoods. We also strive to keep our families informed of events in and around our schools. We anticipate when Towne Point re-opens tomorrow, an additional Dover Police presence.”
The investigation is ongoing and anyone with information is asked to contact the Dover Police Department at (302)736-7130. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips can also be submitted to law enforcement through tip lines maintained by Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or on-line at http://www.tipsubmit.com