Local/State

3rd suspect in Wilmington police arrested, charged (PHOTOS)

Tuesday, February 05, 2013

Authorities identified Tuesday the third suspect in custody in connection with the shooting of a Wilmington police officer.

PHOTOS of suspects, scene: WEBSITE/IPAD | MOBILE

Prosecutors say 21-year-old Frederick Gray was arrested Monday night just before 11:00 p.m., after police spotted him walking near West 6th and North Jefferson Streets in Wilmington.

He has been charged with first degree attempted murder, possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. He is now being held on $400,000 cash bail.

"Frederick Gray is being charged with attempted murder first because the Wilmington Police Department believes that he is the person who shot Officer Justin Wilkers," Wilmington Police Cpl. Mark Ivey said at a news conference Tuesday afternoon.

Ivey was joined by Wilmington Mayor Dennis Williams and Police Chief Christine Dunning.

At the news conference, Ivey stated Gray was on probation for a 2007 shooting.

OFFICER OUT OF SURGERY

Officer Wilkers, meanwhile, underwent surgery at Christiana Hospital Tuesday.

According to Rick Shea, Wilkers' stepfather, the officer was out of surgery by 4:30 p.m. and his jaw is now wired. Doctors still have to evaluate his hearing, and check for nerve damage.

Wilmington Police Patrolman Justin Wilkers, 34, a 3-year veteran of the force, was shot in the face at 3:50 p.m. Sunday in the 1200 block of Peach Street in the city's Southbridge section.

At a news conference Monday, police said the incident began as a routine traffic stop.

They said officers were attempting to stop a white Chevrolet Equinox at A and Townsend streets when it suddenly sped off.

The officers gave chase until the vehicle stopped in the 1200 block of Peach. Police say several suspects jumped out and fled on foot.

As officers got out to approach the vehicle, police say one suspect opened fire, striking Officer Wilkers once in the left jaw.

He was rushed to Wilmington Hospital in a patrol car, where his condition was stabilized.

He was then transferred by ambulance to Christiana Hospital in serious, but stable condition.

Police say the bullet caused extensive damage and remained lodged in his skull. Surgery was scheduled for Tuesday.

Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning said, "This assault on our police officer is an affront, an insult and a total sign of disrespect to authority."

After Officer Wilkers was hit, police took two suspects into custody at the scene.

Jared Wiggins, 20, has been charged with resisting arrest, disregarding a police signal and providing a false statement to police.

Ronald Boyce, 21, has been charged with resisting arrest.

The third suspect, Frederick Gray, was taken into custody Monday night.

"This assault on our police officer Justin Wilkers is an affront, an insult, and a total sign of disrespect of authority," Wilmington Police Department Chief Christine Dunning said.

On Monday, Action News learned Wiggins and Boyce had criminal records.

Wiggins has prior drug and assault charges. Boyce has prior drug and resisting arrest charges.

TENSE SCENE AFTER THE SHOOTING

On Sunday, the scene in the neighborhood immediately following the shooting was understandably tense.

Pamela Hutt rushed her children upstairs to safety after hearing the gunshots.

"I turn around and saw somebody run past my window. My first thought was he could've run in the back door but it was locked," said Hutt.

Meantime, concerned family members of one of the men taken into custody arrived at police headquarters late Sunday and waited for information.

One family member told Action News she firmly believed her relative was not involved in the shooting. But she acknowledged he was in the area when it happened.

"I don't know if they witnessed anything or not because I haven't had the opportunity to speak with him," said Sonja Griffin.

(Copyright ©2014 WPVI-TV/DT. All Rights Reserved.)

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delaware, wilmington, shooting, police, local/state
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