Vigil planned for slain Georgetown police officer

The Delaware State Police Homicide Unit has formally charged one of two suspects in the shooting death of a Georgetown police officer on Tuesday, Sept. 1. Derrick J. Powell, 22, of Cumberland, Md., has been charged with Murder 1st degree and related charges. Another suspect is being sought by police, and a local community group is planning a candlelight vigil for Friday night in Georgetown.

Delaware State Police Homicide has also obtained an arrest warrant for Fugitive Christopher L. Reeves, 20, of Lincoln, Del. Police said Reeves was the driver of the Chrysler Sebring involved in the incident in which 29-year-old Georgetown PD Ptlm. Chad Spicer was fatally wounded and another officer seriously injured. Reeves is still a fugitive and should be considered armed and dangerous, police said.

On Tuesday, about 6:47 p.m., the Sussex County Emergency Operations Center received a 911 call from the McDonald’s located at 20817 DuPont Highway in Georgetown, reporting shots being discharged in the parking lot. Witnesses at the McDonald’s described the vehicle involved at the McDonald’s altercation as a Chrysler Sebring. The vehicle description and suspect information was broadcast to the Georgetown Police Department, as well as surrounding agencies.

According to the DSP, Spicer and Cpl. Shawn Brittingham were patrolling as a two-person unit when they observed the vehicle. Spicer and Brittingham stopped the vehicle, at which time the occupants began to flee from the vehicle on foot, police said. As Brittingham exited the driver’s side of the patrol vehicle to begin pursuing the suspects, police said, a single shot was discharged by one of the suspects, striking Spicer, who had not had the opportunity to exit his vehicle. Spicer sustained a fatal injury to the upper extremity while Brittingham received a non-lethal injury to the neck area.

Police said both Spicer and Brittingham were transported to Beebe Medical Center in Lewes. Spicer died of injuries sustained during the fire fight. Brittingham was listed in stable condition at Beebe Medical Center. Police said he was struck in the neck by a projectile fragment.

According to the DSP, the Georgetown Police Department, Delaware State Police and numerous other Sussex County police agencies came to assist the officers in Georgetown. Local departments as far north as Dover City Police responded to Georgetown area to help search for the suspects. Local fire personal and emergency crews were out in force to assist police personnel with the investigation.

The Delaware State Police Homicide Unit has been asked by the Georgetown Police to handle this investigation.

Delaware State Police are searching for Christopher Reeves, 20, of Lincoln, Del. Reeves is described as a black man, 5 feet, 6 inches tall, weighing 140 pounds, with black hair and brown eyes. Reeves is considered armed and dangerous, anyone having contact with Reeves is asked to call Troop 4 at (302) 856-5850 or Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or, for immediate assistance, dial 911. Delaware State Police have expanded their search to the Dover area of Kent County.

Powell was charged with Murder 1st degree, three counts of Possession of a Firearm during the Commission of a Felony, Burglary 2nd degree, Reckless Endangering 1st degree and Resisting Arrest. He was remanded to the James T. Vaughn Correctional Center in lieu of $97,000 cash-only bail. Police said Powell was charged with Burglary 2nd because, after fleeing from the Chrysler Sebring, he entered a residence on Savannah Road in Georgetown in an attempt to evade police apprehension.

Charges pending against Reeves include Disregarding a Police Officer’s Signal and Resisting Arrest.

Police noted that a second suspect apprehended during e investigation had not been charged, as a preliminary investigation suggests he was not directly involved with the killing of Spicer, but they said the collection of information was ongoing.

Candlelight vigil set for Friday

La Esperanza plans to hold a Candlelight Vigil in memory of Spicer. The ceremony will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 4, at The Circle in Georgetown. All are welcome to attend. Streets within 1 block of the circle will be closed from 5 to 8 p.m. Parking is available at the Georgetown Little League and Dollar General parking lots. The ceremony will be held rain or shine. Candles will be provided.

For additional information, contact La Esperanza at (302) 854-9262.