Milford police officer critically wounded during shootout with suspect; suspect killed in gunfight

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Police say when the taskforce members made contact with the suspect, an exchange of gunfire took place.

Update | 12/15/20 | Delaware State Police have identified 37-year-old Evelio Rivera of Reading, PA, as the suspect responsible for the shooting of a Milford Police Officer assigned to the First State Violent Fugitive Taskforce in the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites Resort parking lot located at 19540 Coastal Highway, at approximately 7:47 p.m., Thursday, December 10, 2020.

REHOBOTH BEACH (DE): A Milford Police Officer working on the First State Violent Fugitive Taskforce, was shot and critically wounded while trying to apprehend a wanted fugitive Thursday evening.

The taskforce is made up of officers from various police departments throughout Delaware that serves on the taskforce. Members of Thursday’s Taskforce were officers from the Delaware State Police, Milford Police Department, and Probation and Parole.

Police say the taskforce was working to apprehend a 37-year-old man from Reading, Pennsylvania who was wanted for attempted criminal homicide. At some point they learned the suspect was hiding out at the Econo Lodge Inn & Suites Resort.

Around 7:45 p.m. Thursday evening the taskforce responded to the hotel to attempt to apprehend the suspect. However, when taskforce members made contact with the suspect, an exchange of gunfire took place.

“During the incident, the Milford Police Officer Taskforce member was shot and critically wounded.,” Said Delaware State Police Spokeswoman, Heather Pepper.

The 38-year-old officer, is a 13-year veteran with the Milford Police Department and is assigned full-time to the First State Violent Fugitive Taskforce.

By the time Paramedics arrived, the officer had already been loaded up in a police vehicle and rushed to Beebe Medical Center. On Thursday evening, the officer was flown to Christiana Hospital where he underwent surgery. His current condition is unknown at this time.

During the course of the gunfire, a Delaware State Police Trooper, who was not injured during the gunfight, shot and killed the suspect. The Trooper, who was not identified was placed on administrative leave per divisional policy Pepper said.

“The Delaware State Trooper involved in this shooting has been placed on administrative leave per Divisional Policy.”

Investigators located a handgun at the scene and have not released the name of the suspect pending notification of next of kin. No other officers were injured during the incident police say.

This investigation remains active, and the Medical Examiner’s Office is assisting with the investigation.

Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings weighed in on the incident and said “Anyone can say that law enforcement is a dangerous job, but in moments like this it is impossible to capture the inherent risk that our officers accept, head on, every time they go to work.”

Jennings added, “We thank all three officers on scene last night for the bravery it takes just to do their jobs. And we are praying for this courageous man with all our hearts.”

Delaware Governor John Carney also weighed in saying, “Tracey and I are praying for this Milford officer and his family. Please let this serve as a reminder of the sacrifices made every day by members of law enforcement, in service to their communities.”

Anyone with information regarding this incident should contact Captain P. Sawyer with the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit by calling 302-741-2727. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at http://www.delaware.crimestoppersweb.com .

If you or someone you know is a victim or witness of crime or have lost a loved one to a sudden death and are in need of assistance, the Delaware State Police Victim Services Unit/Delaware Victim Center is available to offer you support and resources 24 hours a day through a toll free hotline 1800 VICTIM-1. (1-800-842-8461)). You may also email the unit Director at debra.reed@state.de.us.

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