(SALISBURY, MD) – A man armed with two handguns who was wanted by Delaware police was fatally wounded after police stopped the car he was in this afternoon in Wicomico County.
The man is not being identified at this time because his family has not yet been located and notified by police. He was a 25-year-old, whose last known address was in Wilmington, Delaware. He was wanted by the Wilmington (DE) Police Department on handgun charges.
A search for the fugitive began in the Wicomico County area after Maryland State Apprehension Team investigators were contacted by Wilmington Police Department officials on January 30, 2014. Wilmington officers reported the man was wanted for handgun violations.
Maryland State Apprehension Team (MSAT) investigators developed information that led them to conduct a surveillance this afternoon at a residence in Delmar. A person matching the description of the wanted man was seen getting into a car and being driven south on Rt. 13 into Salisbury. Investigators requested a uniformed trooper in a marked car stop the vehicle and identify the occupants.
Shortly before 4:30 p.m. today, a uniform trooper stopped the car on southbound Rt. 13 at Philadelphia Avenue. Investigators from MSAT were also on the scene observing the occupants. The uniform trooper contacted the female driver. The male passenger, later identified as the fugitive, was seen by police holding his face down, apparently trying to avoid being seen by the trooper.
The preliminary investigation indicates Officer Milton Rodriguez, an 18-year-veteran of the Salisbury Police Department and a member of MSAT, was part of the surveillance team and approached the passenger side of the car. The officer was wearing identification clearly identifying him as a police officer and was verbally identifying himself as he walked to the passenger side of the car and contacted the fugitive.
The investigation indicates Officer Rodriguez asked the fugitive for his name, at which time the fugitive put both hands in his jacket pockets. The officer gave verbal orders telling the man not to put his hands in his pockets. The fugitive refused and told the officer one of them was going to die. The preliminary investigation indicates the officer was in fear for his safety and pulled his weapon.
More than one shot was heard by police on the scene. At this time, investigators are not sure if the fugitive was wounded by a self-inflicted gunshot or by the police officer. Police found the fugitive had his hands clenched around revolvers in both jacket pockets. He was also in possession of suspected cocaine. Crime scene technicians continue to collect and process evidence from the scene.
Emergency medical personnel were summoned to the scene to treat the wounded man. He was taken to Peninsula Regional Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead shortly after 7:30 p.m. His body will be taken to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner in Baltimore for an autopsy. No one else was injured in the incident.
The Wicomico County State’s Attorney and Salisbury Police Chief Barbara Duncan responded to the scene. Chief Duncan requested the investigation be conducted by the Maryland State Police Homicide Unit, which regularly investigates police-involved shootings.
The investigation is continuing.