Image source: Delaware State Police handout/Blaze Media composite
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The Delmar, Delaware, police officer who was viciously beaten by a suspect has died from his injuries, Blaze Media can confirm.
Authorities arrested Randon Wilkerson on Sunday after he reportedly bludgeoned the 54-year-old officer, Cpl. Keith Heacook, and attacked two elderly neighbors.
What's a brief history here?
Heacook responded Sunday to the Yorkshire Estates Community in Delmar for reports of a fight in progress.
Wilkerson was reportedly fighting with other residents in the home. When Heacook arrived at the home — alone, due to major understaffing and underfunding within the department — Wilkerson reportedly assaulted him and left the corporal in a pool of blood.
Sources told Blaze Media that Heacook had no pulse and was not breathing when backup and first responders arrived on the scene.
Authorities discovered the suspect across the street at a neighboring residence, where he'd reportedly assaulted two elderly people who lived in the home. Both elderly victims were transported to hospitals for treatment of their injuries, and Heacook was rushed to the Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, Maryland, for treatment of "significant" head injuries.
Authorities arrested the suspect on the scene and committed him to the Sussex Correctional Institution on $451,000 cash bond. He was initially charged with terroristic threatening, attempted murder, burglary, two counts of first-degree assault, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, and one count of third-degree assault. He now faces murder charges in the death of Cpl. Heacook.
You can read more about the horrific attack here.
What are the details?
Heacook, a 22-year veteran with the Delmar Police Department, died of his injuries on Wednesday.
According to an anonymous law enforcement source, Heacook was within weeks of retirement.
The brave corporal leaves behind a wife, son, and other family.
In a statement, Delaware Department of Justice Attorney General Kathy Jennings said, "These are the worst moments any of us can imagine: mourning the loss of a member of our law enforcement family. Cpl. Heacook served his Department and his community honorably and faithfully for more than two decades — a family man, a public servant, and a protector of his community until his final days."
"[Wilkerson] will be held accountable for his heinous crimes against Cpl. Heacook, against the elderly couple he viciously assaulted, and against Delmar and our state," Jennings added. "The DOJ has been working together with Delmar and Delaware State Police, and all are doing everything in our power to ensure a successful prosecution."
Blaze Media's law enforcement source said that Wilkerson had been arrested more than 30 times since 2010 in Maryland alone. A search in the Maryland Judiciary Case portal returned at least 38 arrests, including those for assault, burglary, theft, trespassing, and more.
The source told Blaze Media that the late corporal was a "very gentle man" who never even raised his voice.
The Bank of Delmarva has a designated account named "The Community" for anyone who wishes to donate to Heacook and his family. For more information on how to donate, contact the bank at 410-548-7892 or 800-787-4542.
Delmar, which straddles the southernmost Delaware-Maryland state line, is forced to strategically place officers since there is more area to cover and fewer officers than ideal.
Delmar, Delaware, Mayor Karen Wells said Monday that few people are even applying to be officers in the area this days.
"Quite frankly, who would want to be a police officer right now," Wells said. "That's the hardest thing I think we're facing."
Wells added, "We will have to look into what we can do to make sure that this doesn't happen again. I mean that's all there is to it."
Delaware Gov. John Carney (D) lamented the loss of the officer's life in a Wednesday tweet.
He wrote, "This is heartbreaking news. The Delmar community and the entire State of Delaware lost a public servant today. Tracey and I are praying for Cpl. Heacook, his family, and all of his fellow law enforcement officers."
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