State police say the man shot by a trooper near Lewes this afternoon was wanted on theft charges and threatened officers with a shovel following a lengthy chase that included a car crash.
The man, 42-year-old Keith M. Schueller of Rehoboth Beach, was initially taken to Beebe Medical Center, but has since been transferred to Christiana Hospital Trauma Center where he is listed in critical condition.
Delaware State Police spokesman Sgt. Paul Shavack said Schueller was wanted on multiple theft charges and is considered a suspect in numerous burglaries in Sussex County.
The incident reportedly began about 1 p.m. when a trooper identified Schueller as the driver of a Jeep Cherokee heading west on Postal Lane, southwest of Lewes, and attempted to stop the vehicle.
Shavack said Schueller attempted to flee from the officer by speeding into the Sandy Brae neighborhood, where he drove across the yards of several homes, before re-entering westbound Postal Lane.
Schueller reportedly struck a southbound 2007 Chevrolet Silverado driven by a 70-year-old Lewes man as he attempted to drive through a stop sign at the intersection with Plantations Road.
Shavack said the driver of the truck, who he did not identify, was not injured as a result of the collision
Following the crash, Schueller fled on foot and was chased into a cornfield by two state troopers, one of whom attempted to subdue the Rehoboth Beach man with a stun gun, which Shavack said had no effect.
Schueller was eventually chased into the corner of a barn behind a home in the 19000 block of Plantations Road, where he reportedly armed himself with a 5-foot garden shovel, which he swung at a trooper.
Shavack said the trooper, who has been identified only as a three-year veteran assigned to Troop 7 in Lewes, fired a single round that struck Schueller in the upper body.
The trooper has been placed on administrative leave, as per divisional policy, pending the outcome of an investigation that remains ongoing, Shavack said.
Schueller, meanwhile, is facing theft charges in connection with incidents that occurred in Rehoboth Beach on Feb. 8 and Feb. 16. Shavack said one of the crimes involves a victim older than 62
Additional charges are pending the outcome of a police investigation, he said.