Wilmington police arrest alleged gunman who shot patrolman

By Tom Lehman 8:52pm, February 5, 2013 - Updated 9:19pm, February 5, 2013
Cpl. Mark Ivey and Wilmington Police Chief Dunning speak about the arrest of a third suspect in connection to the shooting of city police officer
Wilmington police reveal details regarding the arrest of the alleged gunman who shot a patrolman during a Tuesday press conference.

Wilmington police officer Cpl. Mark Ivey says 21-year-old Frederick Gray of Wilmington is the man who pulled the trigger and shot patrolman Justin Wilkers in the jaw during a vehicle stop in Southbridge Sunday.

Gray, a convicted felon, faces a charge of attempted murder and was arraigned Tuesday morning. He's being held at the Howard Young Correctional Institution on $400,000 bail.

Police say Gray was arrested Monday night after investigators had learned he was in the area of 6th and Jefferson streets with the help of information from U.S. Marshals.

"They did a pedestrian stop on him, there was no struggle, he gave up immediately and took him down to the police station and identified him positively as Frederick Gray," Ivey says.

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Ivey says both Gray and Jared Wiggins, who were two of the three suspects inside the car pulled over by Wilkers, have been connected to the robbery of a Shell gas station on S. Walnut St. near Southbridge in December.

"It makes one wonder, what were these three doing armed with guns, driving around in that neighborhood," he says.

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At the time of the afternoon press conference, Wilkers was in surgery at Christiana Hospital, where he has been hospitalized since Sunday. The bullet fired at the officer had been lodged in his skull since the shooting.

Police say the surgery has been completed but Wilkers remains in serious but stable condition.

Both Wilmington Police Chief Dunning and Cpl. Ivey both said the shooting won't deter the department from actively going after criminal activity.

"He's doing disruptive policing and in this case it ended tragically, but it's that type of work that we need to do to make sure that we keep the crime rate in this city down," he says.

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Mayor Williams spoke briefly at the press conference regarding his policing plans, which he discussed on WDEL during the Rick Jensen show Monday.

Williams says officers will target high-crime areas and confront those in hotspots for violence and those operating nuisance properties. He hinted that jump out squads could be utilized, but did not offer specifics other than the methods would be constitutional.

Wilmington City Councilman Mike Brown, who chairs the public safety committee, says he has not heard specifics from Williams regarding the policing plan or the possibility of police using jump out squads.

"I met with him as the public safety director, he's yet to share with me or council members his plan," Brown says.

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The committee is expected to hear a briefing about the policing plan from Dunning during a meeting next week.

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