State Police revealed details for the first time today on their gun battle with a Middletown man following the murder of an elderly Elkton, Maryland couple on May 8.
Police officials disclosed that 29-year-old Sheldon C. Francis, who they say shot and killed 86-year-old Paul C. Marino and his wife, 85-year-old Lidia Marino, while they were visiting the grave of their son at the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery in Bear, was killed by police during a “significant” exchange of gunfire.
After being called to the scene the morning of the murders, officers saw Francis flee into a wooded area, between the cemetery and Brennan Blvd., in the development of Brennan Estates. Soon after securing the area, the Delaware State Police Special Operations Response Team (SORT) arrived in a BearCat Armored Vehicle.
The vehicle immediately began taking on “a significant amount of gunshot rounds from Francis,” police say, “resulting in an exchange of gunfire taking place between members of SORT and Francis.”
During the exchange of gunfire, Francis sustained a gunshot wound by the Delaware State Police, resulting in his death. No troopers involved in the shooting incident were injured. The BearCat did sustain damage, but as images released by police appear to show, the bullet-proof windshield held strong.
Police said no motive has been determined for the Marino’s murder nor have they uncovered evidence indicating Francis had any connection to the Marinos.