Two people were killed and two more were critically injured in a domestic-related incident that began at a Townsend home and ended north of Middletown on Friday evening, New Castle County police said.
The homicide occurred around 4 p.m. in a townhouse in the 300 block of Camerton Lane, according to New Castle County police spokesman Master Cpl. Michel Eckerd. The incident was reported to first responders as a stabbing with multiple victims, according to emergency radio communications.
Eckerd would not confirm that the incident was a stabbing. The suspect, a male family member, is in custody, he said.
It's not clear what condition the man is in, nor did police immediately give his age. He was taken to a local hospital after crashing into "multiple vehicles" on Summit Bridge Road (Route 896) following a police chase.
"We're in the very early stages of the investigation and it's going to be a long night," Eckerd said. "It's a very unfortunate series of events."
Delaware State Police released initial information about the homicide just before 5:30 p.m., though the news release said only that a "criminal investigation" had closed the south lanes of Summit Bridge Road between Denny Road and Old Summit Bridge.
Additionally, Fieldsboro Road at northbound DuPont Parkway (US 13) was closed, state police said.
Just south of Summit Bridge Friday evening, at least three crashed vehicles were surrounded by police. A black sedan had a severely damaged bumper.
Social media users reported seeing several helicopters in the area, and one woman said on Facebook she was driving from Middletown to Wilmington when she saw police and ambulances "flying down the highway."
A woman who lives in the Brennan Estates development, located near the homicide scene, said she couldn't leave her neighborhood.
Police had a two-story home roped off with crime scene tape, the blue and red lights of police vehicles illuminating the sides of homes. Several patrol vehicles were parked along Camerton Lane.
Despite the police lights, the neighborhood, with newer-looking homes, was silent and cold. Neighbors remained inside their houses, not peeking outside. Most had their front doors shut.
They did not want to speak to reporters Friday evening.
Friday's incident is the second domestic-related homicide in two days. On Thursday, a man killed his brother-in-law and then himself in Bridgeville, according to Delaware State Police.
Domestic violence homicides in the state have nearly doubled in the past year, according to Delaware Coalition Against Domestic Violence Director of Advocacy and Policy Mariann Kenville-Moore.
While there is no single reason for this, experts have said the coronavirus pandemic – and the stress, economic strain and living in close quarters that have accompanied it – has contributed to the rise.
Kenville-Moore said there is a "much greater need" for services than domestic violence prevention and aid groups can "attend to currently."
She added that she has heard police say they feel like "all they do is respond to the domestic calls."
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This article originally appeared on Delaware News Journal: 2 dead, 2 critically injured in Townsend homicide; suspect in custody