Investigation continues in Smyrna shooting

SMYRNA — Investigation is ongoing after a Saturday morning police-involved shooting left a 52-year-old Smyrna man dead, authorities said.

According to the Smyrna Police Department, Kenneth Mathena allegedly pointed a shotgun at officers while standing in front of a residential building on Malvern Lane in the Sunnyside Village Apartments development at 12:18 a.m., and an officer fired upon him with his department-issued weapon.

Three Smyrna Police officers were at the scene at the time of the incident, authorities said, and repeated verbal commands to Mr. Mathena allegedly were given to put the gun down and drop the weapon. Police said Mr. Mathena allegedly refused to comply with the verbal orders, turned to the officers and then pointed the firearm at them.

Officers approached Mr. Mathena immediately after the incident and administered medical aid, police said.

Mr. Mathena was transported via ambulance to the Bayhealth-Smyrna Emergency Room by Smyrna-Clayton American Legion Ambulance 64 and Kent County Paramedics where he was later pronounced dead, police said.

Smyrna Police spokesman Cpl. Brandon Dunning said Mr. Mathena’s shotgun was recovered at the scene by investigators.

Clayton Police Department officers and Delaware State Police troopers immediately went to the scene to assist, Smyrna Police said.

Immediately following the incident, Smyrna Police contacted the Dover Police Department to assist the investigation as an outside agency, Cpl. Dunning said. The Delaware Attorney General’s office is working in conjunction with Dover Police in the investigation.

“The Smyrna Police Department is cooperating fully with the investigation,” a news release read.

Police said no further information would be made available due to the ongoing investigation. A full release will be provided when the investigation is concluded, police said.

Authorities said Mr. Mathena’s body was turned over to the State of Delaware Division of Forensic Science for a full autopsy to be conducted.

Police said officers initially were called to the Malvern Lane building for a reported possible domestic dispute involving an armed person.

At 11:23 p.m. Friday, officers went to the area and contacted a female who said her boyfriend may have fled prior to police arrival, authorities said. Smyrna Police searched the area and did not locate anybody.

The 12:18 a.m. call came with a report that an armed male allegedly had returned and was attempting to force entry into an apartment, where the girlfriend and another adult male were located, authorities said.

Police said the officer involved is an 11-year veteran of the Smyrna Police Department and currently assigned to the Patrol Division. He was placed on administrative leave with pay pending the investigation’s results, as is department policy.

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