Delmar Cpl. Keith Heacook was pronounced dead from head injuries he received Sunday morning when responding to a call about a fight.
He is still on life support so that his organs can be harvested and transplanted, said Delmar Police Chief Ivan E. Barkley Sr. during a 7 p.m. press conference.
“Even with his sacrifice, he is a hero for someone,” Barkley said. “Our community, my department, his family, we all mourn.”
Heacook, who had been in critical condition at R Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center in Baltimore, was pronounced dead at 12:28 p.m.
Barkley said that Heacook was pronounced dead about noon.
Heacook’s funeral arrangements will be made and announced in the next few days, he said.
A Delmar police car with a black bow around its driver-side rear-view mirror and a bouquet of spring flowers on its hood was parked near the podium in the parking lot of the Delmar Police Station.
Heacook had been beaten unconscious during an early morning assault and was on a ventilator and had a shunt installed in his head in an effort to reduce swelling.
“Tonight in these moments, they are the worst that any of us could imagine, mourning a member of our, our law enforcement,” Delaware Attorney General Kathleen Jennings said. “Cpl. Keith Heacock served his community honorably and faithfully for more than two decades.
She said that the man that stole Heacook from his family and community had been arrested.
“Mark my words. He will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law,” Jennings said.
Heacook’s killer’s charges will be upgraded, she said.
“He will be held accountable for his heinous crimes against Cpt. Heacook, against the elderly couple he viciously attacked, against Delmar and our entire state,” Jennings said.
“We are here to mourn the loss of a man who devoted his entire career to selfless cause of serving the rest of us,” she said. “And we are here to acknowledge law enforcement across this state who willingly face danger each and every day so that all the rest of us don’t have to.”
The corporal was a 22-year veteran of the Delmar Police Department as well as a husband and father.
Heacook was injured after he was called to Yorkshire Estates Sunday about 5:12 a.m. When he didn’t respond to dispatcher calls, more officers went to the site and found him unconscious on the floor.
Randon Wilkerson, 30, had been arrested and charged with attempted murder, assault and more as a result of that attack.
An elderly couple, Steve and Judy Franklin, who lived across the street from the site where Heacook was found, also were attacked. Court records cited by Delmarva Now said Steve Franklin told officers he was punched in the face and hit by a glass angel.
Franklin told police Wilkerson said, “I’m going to kill you.”
Investigators found shattered glass figurines. Documents said that after Wilkerson was brought to Troop 5 in Bridgeville, he admitted to using glass angels to assault the Franklins and to getting into a fight with someone else.
Both Franklins have been released and were resting at home, State Trooper Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said at the end of the press conference.
Jonathan Budler livestreamed the press conference on DelawareLIVE’s Facebook page and contributed to this report.
Betsy Price is a Wilmington freelance writer who has 40 years of experience, including 15 at The News Journal in Delaware.
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