Rodney Robinson (2022)
On March 18, 2022, a restaurant security guard alerted nearby Dewey Beach Delaware Police Department officers Dylan Ebke, Victor Letonoff, J. Swanson, and J. Jenney that Robinson was carrying a handgun. Ebke and Letonoff attempted to stop Robinson, who fled. Ebke claimed to see a gun during the chase before Robinson got away from the officers. Swanson claimed to see a handgun both before Robinson fled and during the pursuit.
About an hour later, Robinson returned to the restaurant, and the staff called police. Responding officers tried to stop Robinson who ignored commands and fled into an alley where he was blocked by a fence. Officer John Rhodes deployed his Taser, which had no observed effect. Ebke claimed that Robinson used one hand to lift his sweatshirt and reached "toward a bulge" with his other hand. Ebke, believing Robinson was drawing a handgun, fired one round before officers retreated.
Robinson collapsed nearby, and additional officers rendered aid including CPR and use of an AED from the restaurant before paramedics arrived. Robinson was pronounced dead at the hospital.
A handgun was found near where Robinson collapsed.
The department did not use body-worn cameras at the time of the incident. Rhodes was wearing a consumer action camera on his vest, but it was not activated.
On January 17, 2023, the state Department of Justice released their report, which determined that Ebke "reasonably felt in fear for his life and the life of another officer when he used force", that Ebke's actions were "justified" and "not negligent or reckless", and were not a criminal offense under state law.
On March 20, 2023, Robinson's mother sued Ebke and the town for excessive force, wanton negligence, assault, and battery.
Part of the chase was captured on surveillance systems owned by the city and several local businesses.
The security system at a nearby house captured audio of the shooting.
- Report of the Department of Justice on March 19, 2022 Use of Force by Dewey Beach Police Department, Delaware Attorney General, 2023-01-18
- Final Report, Delaware Department of Justice, 2023-01-17
- Family of man fatally shot by Dewey Beach police officer last year files federal lawsuit, Delaware News Journal, 2023-03-22
- Robinson Video - Residence, Delaware DOJ, 2023-01-18