Family says police shot and killed Seaford woman through closed door

Shannon Marvel McNaught
Delaware News Journal

The family of a Seaford woman says a Delaware State Police officer shot and killed her through a closed door.

Police went to Danny Drive in Seaford the evening of March 25 "to assist medical personnel," Delaware State Police spokeswoman Heather Pepper said.

As both medical personnel and police were "engaging" 51-year-old Kelly Rooks, "she armed herself with a firearm and threatened the individuals with the weapon," Pepper said.

An officer reacted by shooting her, Pepper said.

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Kelly Rooks, right, with her mother, Geraldine Rooks, and brother, Raymond Rooks.

That night, Rooks was "in the midst of a mental health crisis" and "called 911 for help," according to a statement her family issued through their lawyer April 6.

"A Delaware State Police trooper who answered that call fired through a closed door killing her. She died behind a bedroom door on the floor of her house," the statement reads.

It does not say how the family came to this conclusion, nor if anyone else was home at the time of the shooting. 

The family also addresses a quote a neighbor gave a Delaware Online reporter March 26, in which he said Kelly "answered the door with a gunshot" and police returned fire. 

A 51-year-old woman was shot and killed at this home on Danny Drive in Seaford March 25. Tire ruts were visible in the lawn the next day.

That neighbor has since "confirmed to representatives of the family that he did not witness or hear Ms. Rooks answer the door with a gunshot," according to the statement.

The Rooks family is being represented by attorneys Patrick Gallagher and Raeann Warner of Jacobs & Crumplar. They are asking anyone with information about the circumstances of death to come forward. 

“As her family, we have serious concerns about the circumstances of Kelly's death, and we insist upon a credible investigation to uncover the truth. As a human being, she deserved better," the statement reads.

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Delaware State Police have released few details surrounding the incident. 

The agency first issued a press release about an hour after police responded to Danny Drive, alerting the public that the connected Airport Road was closed due to an increased police presence.

Pepper didn't clarify that an officer had shot and killed someone until 11 a.m. the next day. No other information was released until March 27, and Rooks wasn't identified as the victim until April 3.

The trooper who killed Rooks has been placed on administrative duty, pending the results of investigations by both Delaware State Police and the Delaware Department of Justice. 

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