Three Wilmington police officers were shot Wednesday night responding to a call in the 2400 block of North Market Street, the city’s police department said.
The officers were taken to an area hospital where one officer was treated and released, and the other two officers will undergo surgery, according to FOP leaders. They are expected to make a full recovery.
Wilmington police Thursday afternoon identified 31-year-old Bernard Goodwyn of Smyrna as the suspect. After a 12-hour standoff, officers entered the room where Goodwyn was located in the King Plaza apartments and found him dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, Wilmington police said.
Here’s the latest.
Wilmington police identify suspect
Wilmington police say Bernard Goodwyn, a 31-year-old from Smyrna, shot three police officers Wednesday night and later shot and killed himself.
About 9:30 p.m., Wilmington police received a 911 call regarding a domestic dispute at King Plaza apartments in the 2400 block of N. Market St., police said. As officers entered the apartment, Goodwyn opened fire on the officers, striking three of them, according to police.
The officers were taken to the hospital in “stable condition,” police said. One of the officers was treated and released, and the other two will undergo surgery, according to FOP officials. Two of the officers have served the department since 2014, and one of the officers has served since 2018.
Over the next 12 hours, Wilmington police with local, state and federal law enforcement agencies formed a perimeter and attempted to negotiate Goodwyn’s surrender.
Police said when officers entered the room where Goodwyn was located Thursday morning they found him dead with an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound.
His body was turned over to the Delaware Division of Forensic Sciences for further investigation, and a firearm was recovered at the scene, police said.
The shooting is under active investigation by the Criminal Investigations Division and the Office of Professional Standards. Wilmington police said they will not provide further information at this time, citing the ongoing investigation.
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki makes first statement regarding shooting
Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki made his first public comments regarding the shooting just after 12 p.m., more than 12 hours after the officers were shot.
In posts on Twitter and Facebook, Purzycki said he visited two of the officers Thursday morning and spoke with the other officer by phone. The mayor said they are “in good spirits” and are being well cared for.
“[Wilmington Police] Chief [Robert] Tracy and his officers, assisted by [Wilmington Fire] Chief John Looney and the Wilmington Fire Department, along with our other partner police agencies managed a very tense and dangerous situation throughout the night,” he added. “The incident also displaced some nearby residents while others were forced to shelter in place. The situation is now under control and the police investigation is continuing. We need to get our officers well and to ensure that local residents can return to their normal routines as quickly as possible. Protecting and defending the City of Wilmington, Delaware and its people is a tremendously difficult task, but our officers and their law enforcement partners do an outstanding job!”
Wilmington police: Residents no longer need to shelter in place
In a press release issued at 10:38 a.m., Wilmington police said residents and others in the area surrounding the apartment complex are “no longer asked to shelter in place.” The press release said, “there is no immediate threat to the public at this time.”
At 1:27 a.m. Thursday, police asked those located in the area between 23rd Street and 27th Street, from West Street to Carter Street, to shelter in place and await further instructions.
A handful of neighbors who live in nearby buildings said police didn’t let them go to their homes early Thursday. Around 11 a.m., a man said he had leg pain and needed to lie down, but police did not let him through.
About two dozen people were at 25th and Lamotte streets watching the scene unfold.
OFFICERS SHOT IN WILMINGTON: In-depth photos from the standoff
SWAT and firefighters began to leave the scene about an hour prior to the police department’s update.
The armored vehicle that had been parked in front of the apartment complex overnight left the scene around 9:40 a.m. Shortly after, responders lowered the Wilmington fire ladder that was positioned outside a window on the top floor of the apartment building. Some officers removed their tactical vests.
Around 10:20 a.m. police roped off W. 25th Street at Tatnall Street – more than a block from the apartment building where the shooting occurred – because “it’s actually still a crime scene,” one officer told reporters.
1 officer treated and released, 2 others to undergo surgery
Greg Ciotti, president of FOP Lodge 1 representing Wilmington police and other agencies in New Castle County, said one officer was treated and released, and the other two officers are in stable condition and will undergo surgery. He declined to identify the officers.
Jamie Leonard, president of the Delaware State Lodge FOP, said the officers are expected to make a full recovery.
“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 in a statement.
“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,” he added. “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.”
Delaware officials react to Wednesday shooting
Gov. John Carney, Sen. Chris Coons and Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester offered prayers Thursday morning to the Wilmington police officers shot Wednesday and others impacted by the incident.
“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,” Carney posted on Facebook and Twitter.
“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,” Coons said in a statement. “I’m grateful for their service and thinking about the first responders and the residents of Wilmington impacted by this tragic incident.”
“Terrible news in Wilmington,” Blunt Rochester tweeted. “I’m praying for a full and speedy recovery for all 3 officers and the victims.”
Police are actively negotiating with a person inside building along Market Street
Police negotiated with a person inside the building along Market Street Thursday morning, according to several sources.
It’s unclear whether the person police negotiated with had someone with them, though civilians, firefighters and police officers were seen coming and going from the building.
Loud bangs resonated in the area, the latest occurring at 9:16 a.m. Two minutes later, a group of eight officers dressed in civilian clothing and vests approached the building.
Around 9:25 a.m., police walked away from the building with a woman and a child.
“Beyond what we have released so far, we don’t have any updates to release at this time,” said department spokesperson David Karas in an email. “We will keep you updated when we have new information to share.”
Neighbors who were kept from homes react to shooting
Nearby residents who were evacuated from their homes last night said a heavy police presence began about 9 p.m. – before the officers were shot.
One neighbor who lives across the street said he wasn’t allowed into his apartment, where his four young kids were, until about 3 a.m. He said he had to beg police to let them in because he was worried for his kids.
When he got into his apartment, he said he ran into all the kids’ rooms to make sure no stray bullets pierced those rooms.
He said he saw at least two of the Wilmington officers shot.
“He was pretty hurt, they was carrying him out of there,” the man said. “With every step the cop was like ‘Ahhh’ hurting.”
Around 9 a.m., a handful of neighbors who live in buildings nearby asked a Wilmington police officer if they could go to their homes. The officer said no.
Wilmington activist Rev. Derrick “Pastor D” Johnson said he believes the distrust between the community played a role in Wednesday’s incident.
“There’s a gap in Wilmington between police and community, and the perception is that we’re a community under siege,” he said.
Johnson said people were yelling profanities at officers who were carrying out the wounded officers.
Young child and woman removed from building Thursday morning
Shortly after 6 a.m., a Wilmington fire ladder was positioned outside a window on the top floor of the apartment building. Around six officers entered the building through a window. A young child and a woman were then removed from the building and descended the stairs.
Wilmington police have not yet released any additional information on what type of call the injured officers were responding to or any information about the suspect.
“This is an active and ongoing situation so please continue to keep all those involved in your thoughts,” the state’s FOP lodge said in a Facebook post.