Wilmington firefighter Ardy Hope was due to retire, chief expecting additional charges

By Amy Cherry 11:34am, December 2, 2016 - Updated 9:42am, December 3, 2016
VIDEO: WDEL's Amy Cherry reports.
When given just hours to live, Ardythe Hope fought on for two more weeks.

Hope died Thursday after being hospitalized for 68 days at the Crozer Chester Medical Center following the Sept. 24, 2016 Canby Park rowhome blaze--which authorities have labeled as arson. She suffered burns over 70 percent of her body.

With the Thanksgiving holiday approaching, family and friends were notified her condition was worsening. She refused to give up then, hanging on and fighting for another two weeks before finally succumbing to her injuries.

"The family and I, we want to thank Crozer Medical Center, especially the burn unit, for everything that they have done for Ardy Hope; they have been a true angel on our shoulders," said Goode.

Goode revealed Friday that Hope, a 23-year veteran, planned on retiring from the Wilmington Fire Department next month, in January of 2017.

Wilmington Chief Anthony Goode speaks about Ardythe Hope at a conference Friday. (Amy Cherry/WDEL).

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"Ardy met with me in September, prior to the Lakeview Road fire to plan for her retirement this January," he said. "She was leaving the department to become a nurse as she was in the final stages of completing her nursing degree."

A somber fire chief said Hope began her career with the odds stacked against her. She suffered from a brain tumor.

"That she fought through, and continued on in this job to receive several commendations, awards, and to prosper, to be able to manage all of those things, now to move on from this job and career to start another job and career as a nurse helping others in a different fashion," he said.

Hope is the the third line-of-duty death caused by a fire that also killed her firefighter brothers, Capt. Christopher Leach and Lt. Jerry Fickes. She's the first female in the department's history to die while on the job and the only second African American to die in the line-of-duty.

"She is an extremely well fighter, she is a wonderful mother and woman--you have to be to be a female firefighter in a male-dominated world. You have to be (tough) to be an African-American firefighter in a predominately Caucasian fire service," remarked Goode.



Goode said he and others received news of Hope's death while attending funeral services for Mayor Williams's son-in-law, Wilmington Police Lt. Jonathan Hall.

The sister-in-law to Wilmington Police Chief Bobby Cummings, Hope leaves behind three children, two of whom are still in high school.

"We love Ardy Hope, and we will always remember her, and maintain her honor," Goode said.

Goode also released funeral arrangements for the fallen firefighter.

There'll be a public viewing from 10 AM to noon December 10th at the Chase Center, then a public funeral at 1.

A reception will be held after the service.

Goode added a third murder charge is expected to be lodged against Beatriz Fana-Ruiz, the daughter of the homeowner where the blaze occurred, who has already been charged with arson and murder in the deaths of Leach and Fickes.

Firefighter Brad Speakman was released from the hospital on November 3, 2016.

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DJ McAneny and Frank Gerace contributed to this report.

Contact Amy Cherry at acherry@wdel.com or on Twitter

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Pair who killed Smyrna teen during drug-deal-turned-robbery in Dover plead guilty

By DJ McAneny 3:43pm, December 2, 2016
Two men charged with shooting a Smyrna High School student to death in Dover pled guilty to their respective roles, Department of Justice officials announced Friday.

According to the DOJ, Damier Harmon, 20, and Bruce Manlove, 21, both from Dover, pled guilty to the May 2015 murder of Gary Adams, 19, in the Walker Woods neighborhood.

The three began to fight during a marijuana-deal-turned-robbery, and Adams was shot once. The pair was arrested in Pennsylvania.

Harmon pled guilty to second-degree murder and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony, while Manlove pled guilty to first-degree robbery and possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony. The face 18 years to life, and 6 to 50 years in prison, respectively, when they are sentenced in February.


DSP: PA man hit and killed by marked police vehicle in Felton

By Frank Gerace 10:20am, December 3, 2016
A Pennsylvania man is dead after a police vehicle hit him as he stood on a road in Felton.

Christopher Thompson pulled onto the shoulder of State Route 12 near Chimney Hill Road around 1:45 Saturday morning because something was wrong with the trailer he was pulling behind his pickup truck, Delaware State Police said.

Thompson had jacked up one of the trailer's tires and was standing in the eastbound lane of State Route 12 when he was hit by a marked police SUV driven by an off-duty Harrington police officer.

Thompson, who was wearing dark clothing, was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police say neither Thompson nor the off-duty cop were under the influence, and that the officer wasn't speeding.

State Route 12 was closed at the scene for about 5 hours after the crash.


Gold Alert issued for Claymont woman

By Frank Gerace 12:06pm, December 3, 2016 - Updated 12:26pm, December 3, 2016
Laura Stevenson
A Gold Alert is out for a Claymont woman who's been missing since about noon Friday.

Laura Stevenson was last seen walking around Philadelphia Pike and Harvey Road, and they're concerned for her well-being, New Castle County Police said.

She's described as white, 5-5 and 150 pounds and was wearing a lime-green jacket, black shirt, black pants and black sneakers.

Anyone who knows where Stevenson is can call New Castle County Police at (302) 573.2800 or go to the department's website, nccpd.com.


Police release composite sketch of Glasgow Park indecent exposure suspect

By Frank Gerace 11:38am, December 3, 2016
Investigators hope a composite sketch of a teen who exposed himself twice in Glasgow Park will lead to the teen's arrest.

In the first incident, the teen approached a woman who was running in the park and touched her buttocks, New Castle County Police said.

The second happened the day before Thanksgiving, and involved the suspect opening the door of a portable toilet and apologizing for doing so, only to return a short time later and expose himself.

Police describe the teen as black, 6-3 and about 170 pounds with a thin build, weaing a dark hoodie, blue jeans and sneakers.

His hairstyle is described as a high-top fade, and you can see the composite sketch at wdel.com.

Anyone who can help investigators track the suspect down can call County Police at (302) 573.2800 or submit a tip via the department's website at www.nccpd.com.

Tipsters may also call Crime Stoppers at (800) TIP.3333 or visit the New Castle County Police Department Facebook page.


Wilmington man pleads guilty to tracking down ex, stabbing and choking her for hours

By DJ McAneny 4:40pm, December 2, 2016 - Updated 5:44pm, December 2, 2016
Wayne Carter/WDEL file
A 26-year-old Wilmington man who tracked down his ex-girlfriend while she was housesitting for a friend, entered while she was in the shower, and abused her over the course of several hours, pled guilty to his crimes, Department of Justice officials announced Friday.

Officials said Wayne Carter tracked the victim down in February 2016, entered the Kershaw Street home at 3 a.m. while she was in the shower and, over the course of several hours, hit her, beat her with a cable television wire, wrapped a chain around her neck to choke her, and cut her with a large kitchen knife.

Carter pled guilty to home invasion, two counts strangulation, and two counts possession of a deadly weapon during the commission of a felony.

A presentence investigation was ordered by the judge, before sentencing in February 2017.


The traditional tree lighting at Rockwood Park officially kicks off the holiday season at the park and museum

By Joe Irizarry 10:15pm, December 2, 2016
Rockwood Tree lighting.
Rockwood Park is now lit up for the holidays.

County Executive Tom Gordon pushed the button to light the tree, and the University of Delaware Children's Choir were singing Christmas carols.

Gordon thanked County Council as well as county employees to help make the park the spectacle that is during the holidays.

"Thousands of people are going to come through here in this month to see this light up the faces of so many children thinking they might be in the North Pole," said Gordon. "It makes me real proud that the government can do something like this to expose such a beautiful mansion."

Jacob Watson is one of those children already enjoying the lights.

"I've been here a lot and without the lights the place just looks a little spooky at night, but when it's all lit up--it just looks beautiful, it looks actually like the North Pole--except it's not as snowy," said Watson.

Jim Wellece is originally from Scotland, and he's been in Delaware for 18 years, this was his first Christmas experience at Rockwood Park.

"Beautiful, this is our first time here we brought the little one that I'm carrying on my back, and she's been oohing and aahing at all of the lights so far, and we're looking forward to going around and seeing what else they have here. Good fun so far," said Wellece.

This weekend is the 16th Annual Holiday Open House at Rockwood Museum featuring entertainment, children's activities, characters in costumes and even pictures with Santa.


Pedestrian hit on Wilmington's South Market Street Bridge dies

By Frank Gerace 11:51am, December 3, 2016
(Photo by WDEL's Mike Phillips)
A man hit by a car on Wilmington's South Market Street Bridge has died of his injuries.

The pedestrian was hit late Friday afternoon, Wilmington police said.

County Paramedics treated him at the scene and took him to Christiana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The accident shut the bridge down for a time, and traffic was diverted onto Martin Luther King Boulevard and I-95 southbound.

Police are asking anyone who may know something about the accident to call Sergeant James Karshner at 302.571.4414.


Already-incarcerated man charged with gunning man down in Sparrow Run in 2012

By Frank Gerace 10:56am, December 3, 2016 - Updated 11:07am, December 3, 2016
Kevin "Chevy" Miller
A man already behind bars is now under arrest for allegedly shooting another man to death in 2012.

37-year-old Kevin "Chevy" Miller shot and killed Jeremiah "Farmer" McDonald on Heron Court in Sparrow Run in July 2012, New Castle County Police said.

Miller, who was being held at the Vaughn Correctional Center on unrelated counts, was charged with McDonald's murder Friday.

Miller, who was already a convicted felon at the time of the shooting, is now facing charges of first-degree murder, possession of a firearm during a felony and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited from having one.


Police stop pedestrian loitering next to 'No Loitering' sign, find gun and marijuana

By DJ McAneny 4:54pm, December 2, 2016
Malachi Dendy/New Castle County Police
A 19-year-old pedestrian stopped in the Wilton community by a Mobile Enforcement Team conducting surveillance in the area was charged after authorities located a firearm and drugs on his person, New Castle County Police said Friday.

According to authorities, Malachi Dendy was loitering near Deen and Pell streets, directly next to a "No Loitering" sign on Wednesday, November 30, 2016.

Police said they observed Dendy roll and smoke a marijuana cigarette, and stopped him to confirm he was in possession of marijuana. A search of his person revealed a concealed, fully loaded handgun in addition to more marijuana, according to authorities.

After obtaining a search warrant, police said they found more marijuana and ammunition in his residence in the unit block of Deen Street.

Dendy was charged with possession with intent to distribute marijuana, carrying a concealed firearm, possession of a firearm and a controlled substance at the same time, possession of marijuana, possession of drug paraphernalia, and loitering. He was committed to the Howard R. Young Correctional Institution in lieu of $13,003 secured bond.


Pizza delivery driver declines Leipsic robbers' demands, pushes gun barrel away during hold-up

By DJ McAneny 12:53pm, December 2, 2016
A 47-year-old pizza delivery driver was robbed of his pizza at rifle point--but not his cash, when he declined to turn over his money and pushed the gun barrel away, Delaware State Police said Friday.

According to authorities, the Poliseno's Pizzeria employee was driving around a neighborhood looking for an address that didn't exist in the area of Walnut and 2nd streets in Leipsic at about 6:45 p.m. on November 27, 2016, when an individual flagged him down near from where the order had reportedly been called.

As he got out and spoke with the first individual, placing the pizza on the trunk of the car as he explained the price, a second suspect approached form the front of the vehicle armed with a rifle, demanding the driver's cash.

The driver pushed the barrel of the gun away and refused to turn over any funds, causing the suspects to flee with the pizza, but no cash.

The victim said the first suspect was a white male, the second, a light-skinned black male. Both appeared to be between 14 and 16 years old, with the white male appearing a bit younger. Both were described as being about 120 to 135 lbs., with the black male being a bit bulkier. The white male was in a red hoodie, the black male, a dark hoodie, and armed with a unknown weapon.

A third suspect was also seen fleeing the area with the pair, but no description was available.

Anyone with information is urged to contact Delaware State Police at 302.698.8443 or Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1.800.TIP.3333.


'Key player' in New Castle County heroin ring from Wilmington gets 14 years in prison

By DJ McAneny 3:53pm, December 2, 2016
A man who was one of more than 40 people indicted in connection to a New Castle County heroin-dealing ring has been sentenced to 14 years in prison.

According to Department of Justice officials, Adrin Smack, 25, of Wilmington, was a "key player" in a drug trafficking ring busted up during Operation Smack Down in May 2015.

Smack sold heroin throughout the Sparrow Run development in Bear, and he pled guilty to four counts drug dealing, possession of a firearm by a person prohibited, and second-degree conspiracy in March 2016.

More than 40 people were indicted on charges ranging from drug distribution to weapon possession to possession of illegal drugs to conspiracy.


Police impersonators stop, assault, and rob pregnant NY woman

By Andrew Sgroi 9:57am, December 2, 2016 - Updated 10:24am, December 2, 2016
A New York woman was the unwitting target of some police impersonators on Maryland's Eastern Shore.

According to Maryland State Police, the pregnant woman from Brooklyn, New York was driving solo in a rental car to Norfolk, Virginia on Thursday, December 1, 2016, when three men pulled her over in Snow Hill, Maryland.

The vehicle the suspects were using was described as a black Chevrolet SUV, with unknown Maryland registration plates and the victim reported the vehicle was equipped with red and blue flashing lights.

Shortly before 6:00 p.m., Maryland State Police from the Salisbury Barrack responded to a 911 call from the victim, who said she was driving away from the location where she had been pulled over, assaulted and robbed by the men. Maryland State Police say they instructed the victim to pull over and that troopers would locate her.

After troopers found the victim in the area of Powellville Road and Webb Road, in Powellville, their investigation determined the victim was stopped and assaulted in the area of Whiton Road at Snow Hill Road, in Worcester County. After the incident, the woman said she began driving away from that area before calling police.

The victim stated when the suspect vehicle activated the red and blue lights, she pulled over, thinking it was a police vehicle. She said the first suspect approached the driver side of the car and sprayed pepper spray into the vehicle before spraying it onto a towel that he held over her face. The victim added that when she got out of the car, she was punched in the stomach by that same suspect.

The victim informed the second suspect was holding a small, black handgun and wearing a gold badge on a chain around his neck. He stole her purse, which contained cash and an ornately jeweled belt of great value. The victim indicated the third suspect remained at the rear of the suspects' vehicle.

The imitators, who fled the scene in their vehicle, were described as follows:
  • Suspect #1..black male with short hair and a full beard. He was wearing a black suit, white shirt and tie.
  • Suspect #2..bald, black male with no facial hair and was wearing black pants and a white shirt. He was carrying a small black handgun.
  • Suspect #3..white male with either a shaved head or short hair. He was wearing a zippered black hooded sweatshirt and blue jeans.


  • Police advised that an exhaustive search of the region throughout the night was unsuccessful in locating wither the suspects or their vehicle.

    The 38-year-old victim was treated for exposure to pepper spray and examined at Peninsula Regional Medical Center before being released later that night.

    Anyone who might have seen these vehicles stopped in the area of Whiton Road and Snow Hill Road on December 1, 2016, or who may have seen a vehicle matching the suspect vehicle description, was urged to contact Maryland State Police at 410.749.3101, or 410.641.3101. Callers could remain anonymous.


    Man, 36, shot in abdomen and buttocks in Wilmington

    By DJ McAneny 12:20pm, December 2, 2016
    A 36-year-old man was shot in the abdomen and buttocks in Wilmington, authorities announced Friday.

    According to Wilmington Police, officers responding to a shots-fired complaint in the 2900 block of Baynard Boulevard at approximately 10:10 p.m. on December 1, 2016, found the victim at the scene.

    He was treated by New Castle County Paramedics and transported to Christiana Hospital in serious, but stable condition.

    The circumstances of the shooting remain under investigation, and anyone with information regarding this incident is urged to contact Det. Jeffrey Dickerson at 302.576.3961.


    Senior Firefighter Ardy Hope fondly remembered by Wilmington City Council

    By Joe Irizarry 1:02am, December 2, 2016 - Updated 9:50am, December 2, 2016
    VIDEO: Council remembers fallen firefighter Ardythe Hope.
    Wilmington City Council is mourning the death of Senior Firefighter Ardythe Hope.

    Hope's death was announced Thursday by Wilmington Fire Chief Anthony Goode.

    Council members at Thursday night's meeting recounted personal dealings with Hope.

    "Ardythe gave the ultimate sacrifice to give her life to save someone else's. I actually went through nursing school with Ardy, and I know she's been a dedicated person, always a caring, loving individual," said Councilman Bob Williams.

    Council held a moment of silence for Hope during its regular meeting.

    "Terrific person, I knew her personally, I served on some boards with her, just gone too soon," said Council President Theo Gregory. "It's sad, it's a sad day for the city of Wilmington that one of our firefighters passed away."

    Councilwoman Sherry Dorsey Walker was also among those who spoke about Hope.

    "Ardythe Hope is a woman of great integrity, she is a great mother, and the city has lost a giant. And when I say a giant, I'm talking about a woman who could enter the room and shift the atmosphere with her personality," said Dorsey Walker.

    Gregory added that the hope is all three firefighters who have died as a result of the Canby Park row home fire will be honored in some way.




    Thank you listeners! WDEL's Feed A Friend Food Drive raises nearly $11K

    By Lauren Huet 5:34pm, December 1, 2016 - Updated 11:38pm, December 1, 2016
    VIDEO: Lauren Huet reports on Feed A Friend Food Drive
    WDEL's 11th annual Feed A Friend raised a total of $10,916--that will supply at least 2,183 meals for homeless and hungry Delawareans.

    The food drive benefits five local organizations: The Newark Area Welfare Committee, the Emmanuel Dining Room, the Sunday Breakfast Mission, YWCA Delaware, and St. Paul's Church Outreach Center.

    "We are a rescue mission, and thereby we are a homeless shelter," said Reverend Tom Laymon, president of the Sunday Breakfast Mission. "We shelter hundreds, sometimes over 300 homeless men, women, and children every night. We provide meals to those folks, community folks, and people who are in our residential program. Nearly 1,000 meals are provided each day. We also provide addiction rehabilitation services."

    Laymon said $5.00 provides several meals for the mission.

    "We're providing good food," said Laymon. "Good nutrition to provide for them to get them off on a great start, and to provide them a way into other kinds of programs which will get them off the street, and out of homelessness, and out of poverty."

    During the holiday season your donation is crucial. The Sunday Breakfast Mission uses the money from the food drive to provide Christmas brunch and often Christmas dinner. It's more than a meal, for many it's a turning point. Laymon said over the last 10 years, the food drive has provided between 10,000 and 20,000 meals for the Sunday Breakfast Mission.

    "Critical meals, because they come at that critical time of the year. That Christmas, that holiday season when folks are hurting and most affected by this, and we maybe turn lives around," said Laymon.

    The mission is seeing more homeless and hungry Delawareans than ever before.

    "We see lot's of children. In 1963 only 3 percent of the homeless were women and children," said Laymon. "Now we're seeing 60 to 70 percent of the homeless coming into us are women and children. We're seeing lots of women, lots of children, lots of men, all of them younger than they were before."

    Providing meals can change lives.

    "If we can catch these families, particularly catching these children, we may turn around these folks and they won't be homeless. Perhaps these kids won't become homeless as adults," said Laymon.


    Proposal to fund Eden Park study is officially introduced

    By Joe Irizarry 12:01am, December 2, 2016 - Updated 12:35am, December 2, 2016
    Eden Park proposal to fund study is introduced at Wilmington City Council.
    A capital budget amendment to authorize the use of $200,000 in to fund a study to improve Eden Park is introduced at Wilmington City Council.

    The money is leftover from the completed Spencer Plaza renovation, and Council President Theo Gregory's proposal is an architectural and engineering study with any money left over put towards actual improvements.

    Gregory wants turf installed while also improving the bleachers, lighting and scoreboard.

    Councilwoman and Council President-elect Hanifa Shabazz says this proposal would alleviate the fears of many that opposed the Baynard Stadium/Salesianum proposal.

    "Renovating Eden Park would address that--so there would be a local park that the smaller groups could have access to and do what was really central for them--also be able to raise money and have control of the concession stands," said Shabazz.

    Councilman Bob Williams has no issues with this proposal, he just wishes this money was found when he was trying to improve certain city parks.

    "It's a little disheartening knowing that there's money that could have went into these three parks," said Williams. "We're talking 3rd and Connell, 4th and Rodney and Father Tucker Park. Father Tucker Park is still unfinished. We're still looking for $68,000 to get that done. Hopefully they can find another pot of money somewhere else."

    The proposal still has to go before City Council again for a vote.


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