A 30-year-old man has been charged in the brutal beating death of a Delaware police officer.
Delmar Police Officer Corporal Keith Heacook responded to a call for help on Sunday morning, after his alleged would-be killer apparently assaulted an elderly couple. When he arrived on the scene, he was brutally beaten and repeatedly kicked in the head while on the ground unconscious, police say.
Heacook’s unconscious body was found by other law enforcement officials following the attack. He was rushed to a nearby trauma center, where he was put on a ventilator and had a shunt inserted into his skull, according to the Salisbury Daily Times.
Authorities confirmed Wednesday that the officer died from his injuries, including severe head trauma.
Hospital officials in Baltimore pronounced Heacook clinically deceased, though he still remained on life support. The officer’s organs will be donated.
“I need you to know that even with his sacrifice, he’s still a hero for someone,” said Delmar Police Chief Ivan Barkley.
Suspect Randon Wilkerson has already been charged with attempted murder in the first degree, two counts of assault in the first degree, two counts of possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony, burglary, assault in the third degree, and terroristic threatening, said a press release from Delaware State Police.
The press release also outlined Wilkerson’s attack on the elderly couple:
“Wilkerson knocked on the back door of a residence and was met by the 73-year-old male victim. The male victim was then assaulted as Wilkerson entered the house and then struck numerous times with a glass object. Wilkerson then repeatedly assaulted a 76-year-old female with the same object before fleeing the house.”
“Corporal Keith Heacook is a 22 year veteran and has been employed with our department since 1998,” Chief Barkley said Sunday. “He is a husband, son, brother, and father. Keith is fighting for his life right now and he needs your prayers along with the elderly couple who were also injured. Members from the Delmar Police appreciate the outpouring of community support as we continue to move forward.”
Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings (D) vowed Heacook’s killer will be held accountable for his crimes.
“He will be held accountable for his heinous crimes against Cpl. Heacook, against the elderly couple he viciously attacked, and against Delmar and our entire state,” said Jennings.
“We are here to mourn the loss of a man who devoted his entire career to the selfless cause of serving the rest of us,” the AG continued. “And we are here to acknowledge law enforcement across this state who willingly face danger each and every day so that all of the rest of us don’t have to.”
“Tonight we wrap our arms around a community and a family and hold them in support and prayer,” added Jennings.
The charges against Wilkerson are expected to be upgraded to include murder