The Wilmington police officer shot in the line of duty over the weekend continues to recover with support from friends, family and community members.
On Tuesday a Facebook fan page for Officer Justin Wilkers was established to keep supporters informed as he recovers. It has already received more than 5,100 followers.
According to the page, Wilkers was released from the Intensive Care Unit to a lower level step down unit on Wednesday. His condition has also be upgraded from serious to fair, according to Christiana Hospital in Newark.
Wilkers underwent surgery Tuesday afternoon for injuries sustained to the left side of his face, including his jaw and ear. According to the Facebook page, Wilkers should not have any permanent nerve damage to his face or hearing.
“The trauma however did temporarily bruise and cause severe swelling to the nerve path. It will take time, but he will be able to move his face again. The hearing issue will however require surgery. The bullet blew out the bottom of the ear canal causing a huge crater if you will. They will remove the bullet, and reconstruct the lower part of the ear canal. Good news is….he will also HEAR again,” stated a Facebook post.
During a press conference Tuesday evening, Wilmington Police Chief Christine Dunning said Wilkers will require months of recovery and therapy.
The man charged with shooting Wilkers, 21-year-old Frederick Gray, now faces first degree attempted murder, possession of a firearm during commission of a felony, possession of a deadly weapon by a person prohibited and resisting arrest.
Two other suspects, 20-year-old Jarrod Wiggins and 21-year-old Ronald Boyce, were also arrested after fleeing the scene when Wilkers and his partner attempted to pull their vehicle over Sunday evening.
The 34-year-old patrol officer is married with two small children. He has been with the Wilmington Police Department for three years. His younger brother Joshua is also on the force.
Earlier this week, The Ronnie Williams Foundation began collecting funds to support Officer Wilkers and his family.
Donations can be made at thergwfoundation.org or donors can stop in to any Fulton Bank branch. Checks should be made out to The Ronnie Williams Foundation, with Officer Wilkers family written on the memo line.