Arrest made in Dover murder investigation

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Rondree Campbell (Dover Police Department photo)

DOVER — A 22-year-old Milford man was charged with first-degree murder Thursday morning in the shooting death of a Middletown man Sunday night, authorities said.

Rondree Campbell, of S. Walnut Street, was taken into custody on Wednesday afternoon when he checked in with the Dover Probation and Parole office, according to the Dover police.

The victim in the shooting was Sylvester Williams, 36, police said. He was fatally wounded by a gunshot at approximately 11:13 p.m. Sunday in the unit block of South New Street.

On Thursday police spokesman Master Cpl. Mark Hoffman said Mr. Williams was not believed to be the intended shooting target. He was in the area to help a person move into a residence.

Police said that investigation determined that Mr. Campbell allegedly fired a gun multiple times in South New Street. About 10 minutes later he fired more shots, including one that hit Mr. Williams. Several bullets struck a home occupied by several family members, police said.

According to police, Mr. Campbell admitted to being the shooter in both incidents. Authorities claimed he was seeking retaliation from a previous physical confrontation in which Mr. Williams was not involved.

On Thursday morning Mr. Campbell was seen with a large white bandage on his forehead while being taken from Dover PD to JP Court 7 next door by detectives Cpl. Anthony Toto and Ptlm. First Class Nathaniel Warren III.

Authorities said the bandage resulted from an injury that Mr. Campbell suffered in an altercation leading to the alleged shooting.

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Murder suspect Rondree Campbell, center, is taken to JP Court 7 by Dover police detectives Cpl. Anthony Toto, left, and Ptlm. First Class Nathaniel Warren III. He was arrested during a scheduled visit to his parole officer. (Delaware State News/Craig Anderson)

As he was being taken to JP Court 7, shackled at the wrists and ankles, Mr. Campbell did not respond to a reporter’s question asking if he had any comment.

Mr. Campbell, who is presumed innocent unless proven guilty, was also charged with possession of a firearm during the commission of a felony (two counts), possession of firearm by person prohibited, carrying a concealed deadly weapon, and first-degree reckless endangering (nine counts).

Mr. Campbell was presented before Judge Dwight D. Dillard at JP Court and ordered held without bail on the murder charge. Police said he was taken to James T. Vaughn Correctional Center near Smyrna. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for Nov. 13.

Cpl. Hoffman said Mr. Campbell has been arrested by Dover police before, but would not disclose the nature of the incidents.

According to police, Mr. Campbell was convicted in Kent County Superior Court of a violent felony on June 17, which made him prohibited from possessing a firearm.

In court papers, Mr. Campbell’s employer was listed as “flagger.”

Found on porch

According to police in an affidavit of probable cause, a black male was found wounded on a porch on South New Street “with multiple gunshot wounds to his body.”

EMS transported the man to Bayhealth-Kent General Hospital where he was pronounced dead at 11:37 p.m. “as a direct result of the gunshot wound sustained during the shooting.”

Authorities said two bullets were found near the front porch of the residence. Numerous bullet holes were seen in the building itself.

According to the police affidavit, investigation found that a man known as “Pooh” was allegedly seen taking possession of a firearm from two males near a vehicle on North New Street.

The man was described in court papers “as a light skinned black male and the clothing as a darker style jacket as appearing two-tone and jeans.”

Upon being taken into custody on Wednesday, police said “Mr. Campbell was read his Miranda rights and agreed to speak (to a detective) without the presence of a lawyer.”

Police said a .22-caliber revolver was located in connection with the first alleged shooting incident.

“Campbell confessed to having a firearm, however in video surveillance immediately preceding the first shooting, the firearm is not visible and clearly concealed upon his person,” police said in documents.

“During the interview of (Campbell), he did admit to concealing on his person the .22 Rohm revolver.”

According to police in documents, Mr. Campbell, “did admit to possessing and firing a different unknown, larger revolver during the second shooting, which he retrieved from an unknown subject several minutes preceding the initial shooting.”

Seven homicide cases

With Wednesday’s arrest, Dover police said four of a record high seven homicide cases in 2015 have been solved. There have also been 32 shooting cases investigated through Wednesday, authorities said.

Regarding the three unsolved homicide cases, Cpl. Hoffman said Dover Police Department continues “to make significant progress on those cases … (and we) hope to have (resolutions on them) relatively soon.”

Police said the three 2015 homicide investigations still active include:

• Jan. 25, 2015, victim: Jordan Michael Peck

• Apr 26, 2015, victim: David Clark

• Oct. 2, victim: Thomas Deputy

In a news release, police said witness cooperation “continues to be inconsistent at best.”

Just after the latest homicide arrest, Dover Police Chief Paul Bernat said in a statement, “We have provided extra patrols, we have positioned our officers and arranged their work schedules to combat criminal activity, and we continue to conduct community outreach activities in our high-crime areas.

“At some point, the citizens have to speak up and take a stand. That time is now. Help us help you.”

Dover police noted several avenues to send information to authorities, including personal meetings, telephone at 736-7111, social media, the department website at doverpolice.org, and through its partnership with Delaware Crime Stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or online at www.tipsubmit.com.

The department promised anonymity in all interactions.

Information provided to Delaware Crime Stoppers can result in cash rewards up to $1,000 after arrest and conviction.

 

Reach staff writer Craig Anderson at canderson@newszap.com

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