Life sentence for man who shot Wilmington police officer

The man convicted of shooting a Wilmington police officer will spend the rest of his life behind bars.

Judge Calvin Scott, Jr. sentenced Frederick Gray to life in prison in New Castle County Superior Court today. Gray shot and nearly killed Wilmington Police officer Justin Wilkers last year.

Officer Wilkers and his partner pulled over the car Gray was riding in on February 3, 2013 in the city’s Southbridge neighborhood. After the car came to a stop, Gray got out and fired a gun at Officer Wilkers three times. Wilkers was shot in the face. One day prior, Gray robbed a Wilmington gas station at gunpoint.

Attorney General Beau Biden’s office said at the time of the crimes, the 22-year-old was on probation following a five year prison sentence for shooting a victim during an assault.

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“The dangerous criminal who committed this heinous act demonstrated a complete and callous disregard for the life of a police officer and for the law and has forfeited his right to ever walk the streets again,” Biden said. “We are thankful that the quick thinking of Officer Wilkers’ fellow officers who rushed him to the hospital… saved his life.”

The Wilmington man was convicted on attempted murder, weapons and resisting arrest charges in January. In a separate trial last month, he was convicted on assault for the Feb. 2, 2013 armed robbery.

Judge Scott sentenced Gray on both offenses; he tacked on an additional 52 years in jail to the life sentence for the additional offenses.

“This life sentence sends a clear message to others who would consider using a gun to commit a crime or to foolishly attempt to resist arrest,” Biden said.

Wilkers returned to the job “doing what he loves,” in July, six months after the shooting.

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