At the request of the Fenwick Island Police Department, the Delaware State Police Criminal Investigations Unit on Friday, June 25, was investigating an early-morning shooting incident inside town limits that damaged a home and left a vehicle on fire, with two Maryland men in the custody of Ocean City, Md., police.
The DSP reported that the incident occurred around 2:43 a.m. Friday, with a 911 call placed to the Emergency Operations Center (EOC) in Sussex County reporting some suspicious activity outside a residence on West Atlantic Street. A Fenwick Island police officer responded to the house and observed a Jeep Wrangler on fire, police reported.
The officer and victims were able to extinguish the fire before noticing some bullet holes in siding of the house and a front window shattered, they said. Located in the roadway in front of the home were at least six shell casings that are alleged to have been fired from a handgun.
Police said that further investigation into the incident revealed that four women had been outside Seacrets in Ocean City, Md., waiting on an Uber, when they were approached by two men. A conversation ensued, and the two men offered to drive the women home, they said. The women agreed, but along the way, they told police, they began to feel uncomfortable and asked to get let out of the vehicle prior to reaching their home.
A discussion about paying for the ride ensued, police said, and one of the victims paid the driver $35. The four women then went to an undisclosed location prior to going to their house, for fear they might have been followed, they reported.
But after feeling it was safe to go into their house, police said, they heard someone talking outside and saw the male passenger from the vehicle walking up to the front door. Soon after, they heard some type of banging on the side of the house, and later they told police they had thought the men were hitting the house with an unknown object. It was later determined to be gunshots, but none of the victims were injured.
The suspects fled the area prior to the Fenwick Island police officer’s arrival, but he was able to provide a description of the suspect’s black Toyota Tundra to the EOC and OCPD.
OCPD located the vehicle and the two occupants in the area of 62nd Street and Coastal Highway in Ocean City, police said, and were able to take them into custody without incident.
Delaware State Police have obtained warrants on Blakeney and on Miles on four counts (each) of Reckless Endangering 1st, Criminal Mischief over $5,000, Conspiracy 2nd and Criminal Trespass 3rd. The Delaware State Fire Marshal’s Office has also obtained warrants for Blakeney and Miles for Arson 2nd and Conspiracy 2nd.
OCPD reported that they had additionally charged Andre Jamal Blakeney, 33, of Waldorf, Md., with Possession Marijuana 10+ Grams (a misdemeanor), Controlled Dangerous Substance Possession with Intent to Distribute (a felony), Operating a Vehicle on a Highway with Unauthorized Window Tinting Material (a misdemeanor), Illegal Possession of Ammunition (a misdemeanor) and Fugitive Warrant (a misdemeanor).
Ocean City police reported also charging Finis Aaron Miles, 27, of Clinton, Md., with Possession of Marijuana 10+ Grams (a misdemeanor), Controlled Dangerous Substance Possession with Intent to Distribute (a felony) and Fugitive Warrant (a misdemeanor).
Both Blakeney and Miles will be arrested on their charges in Delaware upon extradition from Maryland at a later date, the DSP said.
Fenwick Island Police Chief John Devlin reported on Friday afternoon, during a town council meeting held via Zoom, that no one had been hurt in the shooting and that the suspects were in custody.
“Someone fired into a house,” Devlin said.
He told the council members that the Delaware State Police had taken the lead in the investigation.
According to the PulsePoint app, which records emergency calls and lists responding agencies, a call was received regarding a “vehicle fire” at 2:48 a.m. Friday.
Property owner Janice Bortner said she feels the incident is an indicator of what can happen if the town allows such things as outside alcohol service.
“This is a sign of what’s to come if we go down this slippery slope,” Bortner said. “Let’s protect the image of the quiet family resort now.”
Fenwick Island resident Mark Tingle said he was on the scene of the incident after it happened. It was, he said, “something very shocking in our town,” adding that watching the Fenwick Island Police Department handle the shooting incident “gave me a new level of respect for what they do. This is not something they do on a day-to-day basis.”
Tingle said that the police had a suspect’s photo “within an hour” after the incident, which he found “absolutely amazing.”
The town council amended its agenda on Friday afternoon to hold an executive session shortly after the meeting started at 3:30 p.m. The reason given by Mayor Eugene Langan for the closed session was to discuss the “incident with the police department that happened last night.” Town Manager Terry Tieman said the council would discuss “information collected regarding criminal activity” at the home.
(Coastal Point reporter Kerin Magill and Digital Content Editor M. Patricia Titus contributed to this story.)