Latest Dover shooting leaves vehicle damaged

Incident is latest in rash of gunfire crimes

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DOVER — The capital city’s latest shooting came Thursday, when an unoccupied vehicle in the Capitol Green neighborhood was struck by at least seven rounds, Dover police spokesman Sgt. Mark Hoffman said.

There have been 10 shootings in Dover in the past 27 days, including Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday of this week. Four people have been shot since May 7, including 12- and 17-year-old males. Five individuals overall have been wounded during the surge, but police have reported none with life-threatening injuries.

In the Capitol Green incident, police said, officers were called to the scene following a shots-fired report at approximately 9:54 p.m. Upon arrival, they were told by a 23-year-old man that his vehicle had been struck by gunfire multiple times.

The car, which police described as a black sedan, was parked in the rear alley of the 400 block of New Castle Avenue.

No suspect information was available Friday, authorities said.

Dover police have investigated nine of the 10 shooting cases, with Delaware State Police handling the other. One arrest has been made: a 17-year-old male allegedly involved in an incident April 27.

Police ask anyone with information on any of these crimes to call 302-736-7130. Callers may remain anonymous. Tips may also be submitted via Delaware Crime Stoppers at 800-TIP-3333 or delaware.crimestoppersweb.com; a cash reward is possible for information leading to an arrest.

On Thursday, Dover Mayor Robin Christiansen, who oversees the police department, pledged to take a zero-tolerance policy to lawbreaking moving forward.

“As mayor of the city of Dover, I promise to uphold and defend the Constitution (of) the United States, the state of Delaware and the contents of our city charter,” he said. “As chief law enforcement officer, I can guarantee you that ... priority one at this point in time, as throughout my entire tenure as mayor, is the public safety and well-being of every man, woman and child in this city.

“And I intend to follow through on that promise, so I’m putting out a warning to the people that don’t know how to behave themselves, the 0.5% of people that decide to settle things with guns and knives, that we’re coming after you. We’re gonna go back to zero tolerance.”

As to what that zero-tolerance regulation means, the mayor said, “You’ll see, and let me tell you something, the folks that don’t know how to behave themselves had better start looking over their shoulder.”

According to Delaware State Police spokesman Senior Cpl. Leonard DeMalto, shootings throughout the First State “from a hard-numbers perspective are down this year when compared to 2020 and 2021. This, of course, is a very good thing, and is a testament to the hard work that our troopers and fellow officers are putting forth every day.”

DSP covers parts of the Dover area, and provides protection and service in all three counties.

Regarding shootings, Cpl. DeMalto said, “Generally, it’s very difficult to explain (why) such occurrences (happen.)

“We suspect that some shootings are retaliatory in nature given the time between the first incident and the next one, the location of the incident, the parties involved, et cetera, which can lead to a rise in the numbers. But that’s just a supposition, which, by definition, is sometimes right and sometimes wrong.”