• Richard Easson

Delaware Cop Beaten After Being Forced to Respond to Scene Alone, Lack of Funding Blamed

Police in Delmar, Delaware arrested a 30-year-old male suspect in connection with the brutal blindsiding sneak attack on an officer responding to a call. The suspect also reportedly attacked two elderly neighbors.

Image Source: 47ABC WMDT-TV

Early Sunday morning, the responding officer, Cpl. Keith Heacook of the Delmar Police Department, arrived at a scene where he was met with physical confrontation almost immediately. The suspect, Randon Wilkerson, was allegedly fighting with residents in a home located in Delmar’s Yorkshire Estates Community and caused property damage which prompted an initial phone call to the police department. A second phone call to dispatchers reported that two elderly individuals were attacked by the same suspect.

A missed ten-minute welfare check prompted a dispatch of more officers to the scene. There the responding officers found an unconscious Officer Heacook lying in a pool of blood. It was believed that he was bludgeoned with his own baton being that it was missing from his holster.

Six other individuals in the home reportedly witnessed the attack on the officer but did not place a call to emergency dispatchers for it. Instead, they locked themselves in an upstairs room of the house. One witness stated that they saw the suspect “throat-stomping” Heacook as he was on the ground.

The elderly couple who was attacked lived right across the street from where Heacook was found unconscious. Wilkerson was believed to have attacked the couple with a glass bottle, causing severe injuries to them both. The elderly wife was identified as a dementia patient and a source familiar with the matter said she reportedly lost several teeth and suffered a fractured orbital bone during the attack. Both the husband and wife were sent to area hospitals via ambulance with the wife later being transferred to Shock Trauma in Baltimore.

The source said Wilkerson was believed to have gone to the elderly neighbors’ home in search for a gun to possibly kill Officer Heacook or faceoff with responding officers. After the suspect was unable to find a firearm, he reportedly jumped from a second-story window. Delaware State Police ended up finding Wilkerson in the rear yard of the elderly couple’s home and arrested him without confrontation.

Officer Heacook was rushed to the Shock Trauma Unit in Baltimore, MD, and was treated for a traumatic brain injury among other injuries. As of Wednesday night, Chief Ivan Barkley announced that although on life support, Heacook is clinically deceased.

Police charged Wilkerson with multiple offenses including making terroristic threats, burglary, attempted murder, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, two counts of first-degree assault, and one count of third-degree assault. This wasn’t Wilkerson’s first run-in with the law. The source said that he had been arrested more than 30 times since 2010. An online portal search for Wilkerson returned a whopping 38 arrests in Maryland alone for assault, burglary, theft, and trespassing, among other crimes.

The lack of funding for local police departments has been at the center of blame for this incident. WMDT-TV’s Jordie Clark wrote, "Although it's not uncommon for smaller municipalities to only have one officer on duty, the addition of another officer or even quicker back up was needed in the situation, according to officials. Some even say, the outcome of this fight could have been very different if other officers had been there."

Maryland State Delegate and former mayor of Delmar, Carl Anderton, told WMDT, "This is what happens when you're allowed to have single officer shifts, and we should never be in this situation."

President of Delaware’s Fraternal Order of Police, Jamie Leonard, said, "The problem with a place like Delmar outside of the fact that they have this kind of two-state leadership, is that their pay is low. You have to increase funding somehow, that funding and that trickle-down can't just be used to hire more police. You have to provide a competitive wage to the officers that are already there."

Note, Delmar spans the Delaware-Maryland state line.

Anderton added, “After [Heacook recovers] I think it's up to the two mayors Delmar, Maryland, and Delmar, Delaware, to come together and figure out how they're going to move the department forward."

Donations to Heacook and his family are being accepted by the Bank of Delmarva. The bank has an account setup specifically for that cause named “The Community” and can be contacted for more information on how to donate by calling (410) 548-7892 or (800) 787-4542.