Community leaders hold Dover meeting in wake of police-involved shooting

DOVER — A police-involved shooting that wounded a 21-year-old suspect in the leg Friday caused community leaders to schedule a meeting Saturday to discuss “safety issues and concerns” in the area of South Governors Avenue.

When it was announced Friday evening, the event was advertised as a public meeting to be held at 6 p.m. at the Center of Faith Church of God in Christ on South Governors Avenue.

However, two members of the media were prohibited from attending when they arrived Saturday evening.

Following the meeting, state Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, said participants discussed the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community in the city. (Submitted)

Following the meeting, state Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, said participants discussed the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community in the city. (Submitted)

Following the meeting, state Rep. Sean Lynn, D-Dover, said participants discussed the relationship between law enforcement and the African-American community in the city.

“On a larger scale, it was about addressing the underlying issues that exist within the community,” he said.

The suspect who was wounded Friday, Terrance Fletcher, was shot while fleeing on foot, carrying a loaded handgun of undisclosed make and model, police said.

He was charged with carrying a concealed deadly weapon and possession of a firearm by a person prohibited. He is being held on $20,000 cash bond.

According to Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat, the sequence began shortly after 1 p.m. Friday when authorities received a tip from an undisclosed source claiming that a suspect was in possession of a handgun near the 100 block of South New Street.

Police were positioned on both streets as Mr. Fletcher moved through the alley, authorities said. After the incident, he was transported to Bayhealth Kent General and reported to be in stable condition.

The commotion drew dozens of residents and onlookers and before day’s end, the community and social media were exploding with concerns and frustration with the Dover Police Department.

David Anderson

Dover Councilman David Anderson used social media to urge people to not listen rumors.

City Councilman David Anderson was on the scene Friday afternoon and evening and was quick to dispel rumors circulating via his Facebook page.

“Here is the real story about the officer involved shooting on S. New Street today. The one shot was armed, would not put his weapon away, was 21, and shot in the leg,” his post Friday stated. “The street rumor says the officer shot an unarmed, 15 year old in the back twice while he was running away. That is a dangerous lie. Help keep your city safe by sharing the truth.”

Most attendees at the Saturday were community leaders and members of faith-based organizations. Members of the NAACP also had a presence.

“Emotions are running high and that, coupled with the rumor mill and speculations has made it difficult,” Rep. Lynn said. “But a lot of facts are not yet known and it’s far too early to get into assignment of blame.”

Although Rep. Lynn said it’s too soon to place blame, others including Mr. Anderson and Mayor Robin Christiansen, see the incident as much more cut and dry.

“We take a strong stand against anyone who would threaten our officers. We stand on the side of justice,” Mr. Anderson said Friday. “Today justice is with the officer who thankfully can go home to his family. I think any thinking person is grateful that both are living tonight because of the choice of the officer.”

Although unavailable for comment on Saturday, Mayor Chistiansen posted the following to his Facebook page Friday evening:

“I want to take a moment to reassure the citizens of the City of Dover that we continue to be a safe city in spite of the incident that occurred this afternoon in the vicinity of downtown. The men and women of the Dover Police Department continue to work tirelessly to ensure the safety of our citizens. I remain committed to that goal and I have confidence and faith in the professionalism of each of them and I would hope the entire community shares that confidence with me.”

No matter the take on the issue, Rep. Lynn said stressed the importance of slowing down and letting cooler heads prevail.

Reach staff writer Ashton Brown at abrown@newszap.com. Follow @AshtonReports on Twitter.

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