Menu
« Back to News

Man indicted in downtown Wilmington killing earlier this year

July 25, 2017
Delaware Online: Wilmington

An 18-year-old man has been indicted in the killing of another man earlier this year in downtown Wilmington. 

A Superior Court Grand Jury on Monday indicted Antonio Russell with the first-degree murder of 21-year-old Jamiere D. Harris Sr. He also was indicted on two weapons charges.

Monday's indictment is the first time authorities publicly announced someone had been charged in the Jan. 17 killing of Harris.

Early that day, ShotSpotter technology alerted city officers of gunfire in the first block of East Seventh St. Arriving officers found Harris near the intersection of Seventh and Market streets where the Buccini/Pollin Group, one of Wilmington's biggest property owners, hopes to transform a Kennedy Fried Chicken into an upscale Italian restaurant.

Harris was on the ground with gunshot wounds to his upper torso, police said.

He was treated at the scene by New Castle County paramedics before he was taken to Christiana Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

The Attorney General's office said they do not expect to arrest anyone other than Russell, who was already in custody on unrelated charges when he was indicted on Monday. Russell was arrested on weapons charges at a New Castle-area Budget Inn on March 31 where he'd been hiding for about a month, according to court records.

Monday's indictment provided few details on how or why the killing occurred.

Wilmington police, in January, also provided few details into the cause of the shooting but said that it did not appear to be random. Their preliminary investigation indicated "there was some type of altercation with unknown suspects and the victim prior to the shooting incident."

Harris' fatal shooting occurred hours after Wilmington Mayor Mike Purzycki announced plans to curb the spike in the city's gun violence. Seventeen days into the month and there had already been five shooting fatalities, making it the deadliest start to a year in recent memory.

Despite Pursycki's January announcement that he would deploy more police officers to high crime areas, the number of shootings continues to surpass previous years.

So far this year there have been 119 people shot, including 21 fatally. Looking back over the past six years, an average of 71.8 people have had been shot, 14 of them fatally, in the first seven months of the year. This is as of the Monday afternoon.

The gun violence this year has already surpassed the number of people shoot in all of 2012 (118) and in all of 2011 (95), the year The News Journal started tracking Wilmington's shootings online.
Wilmington police investigate the shooting death ofBuy Photo

Wilmington police investigate the shooting death of 21-year-old Jamiere D. Harris Sr. on Jan. 17. (Photo: JOHN J. JANKOWSKI JR./SPECIAL TO THE NEWS JOURNAL)

Wilmington police Chief Robert Tracy, who started in April, said he is working to bring community policing and accountability to the department.  Last week, Tracy told a room of several dozen residents that the Police Department has to build trust — in some places, from the ground up.

While there have been fewer people shot in Wilmington in the last two months since Tracy was named police chief, there are still more victims of gun violence in his short tenure when compared to last year. Since mid-April, there have been 58 people shot in Wilmington, 10 more than the previous year for the same time period.

The number of fatal shootings in this time period, seven, is the same in both years.