A man who unleashed bullets and obscenities at police in a July 2001 standoff outside Westminster wept and apologized to some of the officers yesterday in a Carroll County Circuit courtroom, where he was sentenced to 25 years in prison.
Earl William Delker Jr., 40, a Westminster-area drifter and former truck driver, repeatedly asked police to kill him early on the morning of July 29, 2001, saying "I want you to shoot me," a prosecutor said. Yesterday, Delker thanked the officers for not fulfilling his request.
"I'm sorry that I put your lives in danger. I really am sorry," Delker said, turning to address several troopers.
"It was a terrible night," Delker added, before Assistant Public Defender Brian Green took over reading his statement as Delker began to cry.
Delker received a 25-year prison sentence under a plea agreement in which he was convicted of four counts of first-degree assault on four officers - three troopers and one officer from Westminster - and of the use of a handgun in a crime of violence.
The incident began at 1:30 a.m. when Delker's ex-girlfriend called state police in Westminster, according to the lengthy statement of facts recited yesterday by Senior Assistant State's Attorney Clarence W. Beall III.
Delker he wanted to meet the woman at a secluded spot, the prosecutor said. But the woman persuaded him to meet at a Sheetz store in Manchester about 3 a.m. - where two troopers met him instead.
Delker fled on Route 27 at speeds of 80 to 90 mph, according to the statement of facts. Shots were fired into his tires and a trooper attempted to use his cruiser to block the pickup, which careened into a ditch near Route 482.
After negotiations failed, police fired spray and beanbags at Delker, but he would not surrender. When Delker shot at them, the police returned fire and shot him.
Judge Michael M. Galloway ordered that Delker be placed on five years' probation upon release, and that he abstain from drugs and alcohol.