Burglary call leads to standoff in Dover neighborhood

Persimmon Park Place house

(Delaware State News/Matt Bittle) The home, with caution tape and shattered windows.

DOVER — Instead of enjoying a quiet Sunday morning, Karla Doucette was left shaken after an early morning standoff between police and a resident two doors down from her Persimmon Park Place home.

The incident began around 2:47 a.m. Sunday when Dover Police responded to a call about a possible burglary in progress at a house on Primrose Drive, Cpl. Mark Hoffman said in a press release.

The investigating officers determined noises that had alerted the original caller were coming from a nearby home on the street. After hearing a gunshot and seeing smoke, police called the Dover Fire Department.

Upon entering, firefighters discovered a small kitchen fire, according to the release. After the firefighters extinguished the fire, they were attacked by 39-year-old Cliffton Stevens, who chased them out of the dwelling while throwing items, Cpl. Hoffman said. According to police, Mr. Stevens was suffering from several apparently self-inflicted injuries.

Officers tried take him in custody, but Mr. Stevens fled into the home and barred the doors, police said.

With the help of the Dover Police Department Crisis Negotiation Team and Special Operations Response Team, officers attempted to contact Mr. Stevens to convince him to come out or let them enter. He did not respond and officers were concerned about his mental state, according to the press release.

After more than four hours, officers from the SORT unit and the state police entered the home. Police said Mr. Stevens resisted but was taken from the home and to the hospital.

Some neighbors were evacuated and taken to a nearby parking lot during the incident.

Ms. Doucette said police broke the windows of the home.

Some officers still were on the scene around 11 a.m. while several fire department vehicles remained parked by Mr. Stevens’ home. Yellow caution tape wrapped the small residence, which had shattered windows in the front and the back.

The event happened hours after shots reportedly were fired at nearby Delaware State University campus Saturday night. Ms. Doucette initially speculated the incidents might be connected.

Police later said the Sunday incident was unrelated to Saturday night’s troubles at the university.

Still, Ms. Doucette fretted about staying in what she said always had been a “quiet neighborhood.”

“I don’t want my kids out of the house,” she said.

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