Justice Dept.: DSP justified in fatal August shooting

HARBESON — A fatal shooting by police of a gun-wielding 50-year-old Harbeson man at his residence during a search warrant execution last August was justified, the Delaware Department of Justice announced late last week.

Robert Knox was felled last Aug. 28, as Delaware State Police entered a home in the 22000 block of Harbeson Road at approximately 6:07 a.m. during a drug investigation. Two troopers reportedly discharged their weapons when a struggle over the weapon ensued.

Mr. Knox was previously paralyzed from the waist down and made statements about not going back to jail, the DOJ noted. The report said he pointed a firearm toward a trooper, who then discharged his weapon. A witness heard voices shouting “show me your hands” before the shooting.

When a phone on a table rang, the DOJ said, Mr. Knox lunged toward it put instead produced a gun. The report suggested a trooper was caught off guard by the firearm’s presence.

Evidence showed that the trooper fired his weapon with the belief his own life was in danger.

“The statements from the witnesses suggest Delaware State Police felt Mr. Knox was being compliant and did not need to be handcuffed and the situation escalated rapidly,” the DOJ found.

Another trooper fired his weapon in the belief that it was needed to protect himself and two other troopers, the DOJ determined. There was were reckless or negligent actions made, the opinion stated.

Mr. Knox was taken to Beebe Medical Center, where he died from his injuries.

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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