Because our AG, my friend Kathleen Jennings, has the brains to hire good (fair) investigators and prosecutors, and is a person of unquestionable integrity, we can rely on such conclusions.
Excerpts from the Article:
The Delaware Department of Justice on Friday said an investigation into a December shooting that left a wanted man dead and an officer seriously injured concluded that the use of deadly force by police was justified.
The incident happened Thursday night, Dec. 10 in the parking lot of the EconoLodge, located at 19540 Coastal Highway in Rehoboth Beach.
According to the DOJ’s final report, 37-year-old Evelio Rivera, of Reading, Pa., was wanted for an attempted murder charge involving his use of a handgun toward his brother after a disagreement at a party in Reading. Rivera reportedly had a significant criminal history, including convictions for weapons offenses, aggravated assault, drugs, and domestic violence. He was on parole at the time of the attempted murder and was listed as fugitive by the Pennsylvania Parole Board. The DOJ said that to avoid capture, Rivera fled to the Rehoboth Beach area with his girlfriend and her three children. They were staying at a room in the Econo Lodge Inn on Coastal Highway.
According to the DOJ’s report, on or about the afternoon of Thursday, Dec. 10, United States Marshals Service Task Force members were notified of a lead on Rivera’s possible location. Senior Cpl. Timothy D. Webb, a Milford police officer and a member of the USMS Task Force, volunteered to drive past the Econo Lodge and attempt to locate the vehicle of Rivera’s girlfriend. Webb conducted a check of the parking lot and observed Rivera in the company of a woman and two of her children in the vehicle The vehicle then left the parking lot.
The DOJ said that initially, Webb and the USMS Task Force intended to develop a plan to take Rivera into custody the following morning. Upon further discussion, the Task Force decided they would respond to the area and attempt to apprehend Rivera that evening. Webb, along two other USMS Task Force members, namely Delaware State Police Cpl. Josh DiGiacomo and Probation and Parole Officer George Ramsburg, established surveillance positions and developed a plan on how they would take Rivera into custody. There was a concern that the apprehension would be more dangerous if they allowed Rivera to get out the vehicle or get into his hotel room, according to the DOJ’s report.
At approximately 7:45 p.m. that same day, the vehicle Rivera was operating returned to the parking lot of the hotel. It did a lap around the building before pulling, head-in, to a parking space at the front of the building.
The DOJ said that after Webb and his partners took their places in the parking lot, Webb got out of his vehicle, identified himself as a U.S. marshal, and ordered Rivera to show his hands while moving toward Rivera’s driver side door. Investigators said Rivera got out of the driver’s side door and immediately began firing his Taurus handgun at Webb, striking him at least six times. Webb returned fire, striking Rivera. The DOJ said Webb fell to the ground, severely wounded, as Rivera ran through the parking lot.
Investigators said that it appears, due to two shell casings in that area, that Rivera fired two additional rounds as he was running between Webb’s vehicle and DiGiacomo’s vehicle. As Rivera ran through the parking lot, DiGiacomo and Ramsburg fired additional shots at Rivera. Rivera fell near a tree located within a landscaped area of the parking lot. When officers approached Rivera, he appeared deceased, according to investigators, who said Rivera had expended all of the ammunition in the weapon. However, investigators said a loaded spare magazine was located on the ground near Rivera, suggesting he may have been in the process of reloading.
As the exchange of gunfire between Rivera and officers was taking place, Rivera’s girlfriend removed her children from the vehicle and entered her hotel room. Rivera’s girlfriend and her children were not injured.
DiGiacomo rendered aid to Cpl. Webb at the scene. Webb was then assisted into DiGiacomo’s vehicle and driven to Beebe Hospital for treatment. He was later transported via helicopter to Christiana Care for advanced care.
Webb sustained the following injuries: a fractured femur; a left shoulder gunshot wound; a right upper arm gunshot wound requiring the removal of skin and muscle; an armpit and right arm gunshot wound with a lodged, inoperable bullet; a gunshot wound to his chin; and injuries to both of his hands from falling to the ground.
The DOJ investigation into the Dec. 10 incident found that Rivera was bipolar and would carry his gun “everywhere.” His girlfriend told investigators that she was afraid of him. The investigation also found that Rivera had told his girlfriend that “he wasn’t going back to jail.”
Following an examination of all of the evidence and interviews with all parties involved, including Rivera’s girlfriend and other witnesses, the DOJ concluded the use of deadly force by the USMS Task Force officers was justified.
The report stated:
“Rivera’s danger to the public and the police was well known. He was a fugitive with a substantial history of violence and he was wanted for attempted murder. The USMS Task Force took on the responsibility of securing Rivera’s arrest. During their attempt to lawfully take Rivera into custody, Rivera shot at the officers. He fired the same handgun, multiple times, that he had used in his earlier attempted murder, and he caused serious, life-threatening injuries to Cpl. Webb. Under the circumstances, the Task Force officers’ use of deadly force in response to Rivera’s shooting was justified and necessary to protect themselves and others.
“Furthermore, the Task Force officers were not reckless or negligent in forming the belief that force was immediately necessary. Rivera had a history of violence, was a parole absconder and a fugitive from an attempted murder case – and he fired repeatedly at the police who were trying to bring him to justice. The Task Force officers were not reckless or negligent in forming the belief that return fire was immediately necessary.
“Lastly, given that the police were justified to use force towards Rivera pursuant to 11 Del. C. § 464, we further determine that they were not negligent or reckless in injuring or creating a risk of injury to third persons under 11 Del. C. § 470(b). No third persons were injured in this case, despite the volatile and dynamic situation Rivera created.
“Upon careful consideration of the available evidence and the application of expert opinion to that evidence, Cpl. Timothy Webb, Corporal Josh DiGiacomo, and Probation Officer George Ramsburg reasonably believed that the use of deadly force upon Rivera was immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting themselves and others. For these reasons, the Department of Justice concludes the use of deadly force in this case does not constitute a criminal offense under the laws of the State of Delaware.”