A Rarity in Delaware: Officer Is Fatally Shot in the Line of Duty

The NLEOMF joins with the Georgetown, DE, Police Department and the state’s entire law enforcement community in mourning the death of Patrolman Chad Spicer. Patrolman Spicer was shot and killed last evening after he and his partner had stopped a vehicle on U.S. 113 that had been involved in an earlier shooting. As the three suspects exited the vehicle, one of them opened fire, killing Patrolman Spicer and critically wounding his partner. A four-year law enforcement veteran, Patrolman Spicer is the first member of the Georgetown Police Department to be killed in the line of duty.

Line-of-duty deaths—in particular, deaths resulting from gunfire—are extremely rare in Delaware. There are currently 33 officers from the state whose names are engraved on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial in Washington, DC, dating back to Delaware’s first known death in 1863. Only New Hampshire (33) and Vermont (19) have experienced fewer officer fatalities.

Delaware’s last line-of-duty death occurred more than five years ago, in July 2004. State Police Corporal Christopher Michael Shea was killed in an automobile crash caused by a drunk driver. The last officer from the state to die in the line of duty from a gunshot wound was Dover Patrolman Daniel Schneible. He was shot in October 1969 while searching for a shoplifting suspect in a vacant house. He died 24 years later, in December 1993, from complications related to his injuries. Before that, the last officers shot and killed were Delaware State Troopers Ronald Carey and David Yarrington, who were gunned down in January 1972 by the female accomplice of a suspect they were struggling with. Of the 33 Delaware officers currently on the Memorial, just nine were killed in firearms-related incidents. Patrolman Spicer is the 10th.

As we grieve over his tragic death, we also salute all of the fallen heroes of Delaware law enforcement. Their service and sacrifice will always be remembered on the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial.

Police Officer JOHN F. BAYLIS, 09/09/1863, Wilmington P.D.
Police Officer ANDREW T. PETERSON, 06/27/1885, Wilmington P.D.
Patrolman FRANCIS X. TIERNEY, 03/06/1915, Wilmington P.D.
Patrolman THOMAS L. ZEBLEY, 11/13/1919, Wilmington P.D.
Officer FRANCIS RYAN, 11/02/1922, Delaware State Police
Matron MARY T. DAVIS, 05/11/1924, Wilmington P.D.
Patrolman HOWARD P. ATWELL, 06/29/1926, Wilmington P.D.
Patrolman MILTON A. WIMBROW, 12/31/1931, Wilmington P.D.
Patrolman WILLARD E. PRUITT JR., 07/07/1944, Wilmington P.D.
Trooper PAUL H. SHERMAN, 10/16/1945, Delaware State Police
Detective THOMAS P. CONATY JR., 12/26/1946, Wilmington P.D.
Corporal LEROY L. LeKITES, 01/13/1950, Delaware State Police
Trooper RAYMOND B. WILHELM, 05/30/1951, Delaware State Police
Patrolman HARRY PASSMORE CLOUD, 07/02/1955, Delaware River & Bay Auth.
Trooper WILLIAM F. MAYER, 08/08/1955, Delaware State Police
Trooper HAROLD B. RUPERT, 04/19/1962, Delaware State Police
Trooper ROBERT A. PARIS, 10/17/1963, Delaware State Police
Patrolman JAMES HENRY HILL, 07/10/1970, Seaford P.D.
Trooper WILLIAM C. KELLER, 01/22/1971, Delaware State Police
Auxiliary Police Officer WALLACE A. MELSON, 08/21/1971, Ocean View P.D.
Trooper RONALD L. CAREY, 01/05/1972, Delaware State Police
Trooper DAVID C. YARRINGTON, 01/06/1972, Delaware State Police
Trooper GEORGE W. EMORY, 06/03/1972, Delaware State Police
Corporal PAUL JOHN SWEENEY, 11/30/1972, New Castle County P.D.
Trooper DAVID BRUCE PULLING, 11/18/1987, Delaware State Police
Trooper KEVIN J. MALLON, 03/20/1990, Delaware State Police
Trooper GERARD T. DOWD, 09/11/1990, Delaware State Police
Corporal ROBERT H. BELL, 09/07/1993, Delaware State Police
Patrolman FRANCIS T. SCHNEIBLE, 12/20/1993, Dover P.D.
Patrol Officer VINCENT A. JULIA, 02/09/1996, Delaware River & Bay Auth.
Trooper SANDRA MARIE WAGNER, 04/05/1996, Delaware State Police
Corporal FRANCES MARIE COLLENDER, 02/06/2001, Delaware State Police
Corporal CHRISTOPHER MICHAEL SHEA, 07/18/2004, Delaware State Police