DOJ releases report on deadly use of force in March 2022 officer-involved shooting in Dewey Beach


DEWEY BEACH, Del. – An investigation has determined that the fatal use of force by Dewey Beach Police on a Milford man last March does not constitute a criminal offense.

At around 1:15 a.m. on March 19, 2022, a security officer at the Starboard Restaurant noticed that a man, identified as 21-year-old Rodney Robinson, had a handgun in his possession and alerted several Dewey Beach Police Officers who were in the area. Officers tried to detain Robinson, but he ran southbound along Coastal Highway while four officers followed in a foot pursuit. At least one of the officers observed what he believed was a firearm in Robinson’s waistband as he fled.

Robinson eluded police and was not apprehended. Approximately one hour later, Robinson returned to the Starboard, and a manager called 9-1-1 to notify police that the same subject from earlier had returned to the business.

Dewey Beach officers once again tried to stop Robinson, who refused commands to stop and ran into an alley behind Izzy Pizza. Robinson reached a fence and was unable to continue fleeing as officers gave commands to stop and show his hands. Robinson then turned towards officers, at which time one officer deployed a taser on Robinson, but it appeared to not have any effect on him. One of the officers stated that Robinson then used his left hand to lift his sweatshirt and began reaching with his right hand toward a bulge in his right waistband, which officers believed was a firearm. As a result, one of the officers fired one found from his departmental firearm towards Robison. Both officers then sought cover by running through a breezeway toward Coastal Highway as Robinson continued trying to flee by running out of the same end of the alley he had entered.

Robinson, having been hit by the single shot fired by the officer, collapsed in the backyard of a residence behind the Starboard. Officers administered CPR and connected an Automatic External Defibrillator from the Starboard. EMS personnel assumed lifesaving measures and took Robinson to Beebe Hospital, where he was pronounced dead. It was later learned that Robinson had pending criminal charges related to his fleeing DSP in a vehicle in March 2021.

Following a lengthy investigation, it was determined that the officer “reasonably believed that the use of deadly force upon Robinson was immediately necessary for the purpose of protecting himself and others.” As a result, the Department of Justice has concluded that the use of deadly force in this case does not constitute a criminal offense under State of Delaware laws.

The full report can be found here.

Our original story can be found here.

Categories: Delaware, Local News