The widow of a slain Delaware police officer late Wednesday called for an end to the violence against police officers as 2021 is on pace to be the deadliest in history for law enforcement.
Susan Heacook, the widow of Delmar Police Cpl. Keith *Heacook, said he was simply doing his job when he responded to a fight-in-progress call on Sunday.
“The violence in our country has to stop. We can’t let this continue to happen. I will make sure another officer’s family doesn’t have to go through this,” she said in a statement. “Keith was one of the good ones, he didn’t deserve this. He was simply doing the job he loved to do — protect and serve.”
Mrs. Heacook said telling her 12-year-old son that he will never see his dad again was one of the hardest things she’s ever had to do. The son crumpled up into a ball and cried his eyes out, she said.
“Now our son will never have his father at any of his ball games ever again cheering him on like he always did, he won’t be there to teach him to drive, watch him graduate from high school, go fishing or do countertop jobs together (he helped Keith with his side business) and the list goes on,” the statement read.
Cpl. Heacook, who is White, is one of two officers who died in the line of duty on Wednesday.
He was declared clinically dead Wednesday after he was brutally beaten while responding to a 911 call, police say.
Randon D. Wilkerson, who is Black, is facing assault charges stemming from the attack on Cpl. Heacook, but Delaware Attorney General Kathy Jennings said those charges will be upgraded to murder.
The attack occurred when the officer was dispatched to a call about a fight in progress. Mr. Wilkerson had allegedly assaulted an elderly couple in their home, police said.
A Delaware State Police officer found Cpl. Heacook lying unconscious Sunday morning with “significant head injuries,” police said.
Through the first four months of the year, 111 officers lost their lives in the line of duty, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund. That is an 11% increase from 98 during the same period last year.
A total of 360 officers died in the line of duty last year, according to the fund, the deadliest year for law enforcement since 1974.
Of the officer deaths this year, three were attributed to direct assault, 17 to gunfire, one to stabbing and eight to vehicular assault, according to the fund.
Last year, one officer was killed from an assault, 45 by gunfire and 13 from vehicular assault, the fund said.
* (Correction: Delmar Police Department Cpl. Keith Heacook‘s name was misspelled in an earlier version of this story. His name has been corrected.)
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