The Delaware State Police this week were investigating a shots-fired complaint that occurred on Friday, April 26, in the parking lot of the VFW just south of Millsboro.
The incident occurred around 11:50 p.m., police said, after a verbal argument between a security guard working a private party at the VFW and a patron who reportedly refused to leave. When the patron finally entered his vehicle and began to leave, two gunshots were heard coming from the direction of the vehicle.
“It was a matter that they were refusing to leave the club. The subsequent shots were heard by the security guard that was there,” said DSP Public Information Officer Master Cpl. Gary E. Fournier.
Troopers, who were in the area at the time, also heard the gunshots and responded to the parking lot to investigate.
“Troopers happened to be in the area at the time and actually heard the gunshots and responded over,” said Fournier. “The security guard actually pointed out where the car was that he heard it come from and where the altercation he was having with the 17- and 19-year-old was located.”
Troopers were able to make contact with a 19-year-old male driver and a 17-year-old male passenger still in the parking lot. However, a search of the vehicle yielded no weapons.
“We’ll look for casings,” explained Fournier. “In any kind of case, there may not be in any in the area. If a gun was shot from inside the car, the casings would fall inside the car. In this case, the troopers were unable to locate any weapon or evidence in the car.”
The 17-year-old passenger was found to have two capiases for him out of local courts, but Fournier said were not weapons-related. He was transported to JP3 and released to a parent after his arraignment on those charges.
Fournier said that, although the search of the vehicle did not yield a gun, the police hope to receive tips from the public that will help them locate the fired gun and the person who fired it.
“We want to find out if somebody had a gun at the party and make contact with that person and subsequently investigate that a little more, see if they’re allowed to have a weapon and find out what the whole incident was over,” he said. “Anytime there are gunshots anywhere, we want to investigate to the fullest, because we need to get that gun off the street.”
It was not the first incident at the VFW in which troopers have been called. In September of 2012, a physical altercation inside the VFW — which was also rented out for a private party at that time — resulted in several rounds being fired and striking the Millsboro man in the upper body.
“It’s frequently rented out by patrons who hold private functions,” explained Fournier of the facility. No one at the VFW could be reached for comment by Coastal Point’s Wednesday deadline.
The DSP asked that anyone who has any information regarding the incident contact Troop 4 at (302) 856-5850 or by using the Delaware State Police Mobile Crime Tip Application available to download at: http://www.delaware.gov/apps/. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333, via the Internet at www.tipsubmit.com or by sending an anonymous tip by text to 274637 (CRIMES), using the keyword “DSP.”