• T. Blair

Suspect Identified in Double Homicide of Elderly Couple at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery

Updated: May 13

Sheldon C. Francis, 29, gunned down an 85 year old female and her 86 year old husband at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery 5.8.20. Both victims died.

Sheldon Francis, 29 - 2009 mugshot

Bear, DE - Suspect identified in Double homicide at Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery. An elderly couple was gunned down while visiting a cemetery in Delaware Friday. According to law enforcement, Sheldon Francis, 29, open fired on 86 year old Paul C. Marino and his wife, 85 year old Lidia Marino. Lidia was pronounced dead at the scene. Paul was rushed to the hospital where he died the next day.


Police searched for Francis for several hours after an exchange of gunfire with officers. Francis was later found dead in a nearby wooded area. It is yet to be determined if his death was self-inflicted or as a result of the police gunfire.


A possible motive for the shooting of the elderly couple has not been identified.

From Delaware State Police:

The Delaware State Police have identified 29 year old Sheldon C. Francis of Middletown, as the suspect responsible for the shooting of an 85 year old female, and 86 year old male, husband and wife from Elkton, Maryland, on the grounds of the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery located at 2465 Chesapeake City Rd., in Bear, at approximately 10:13 a.m., Friday, May 8, 2020.


85-year old Lidia Marino, of Elkton, MD, was pronounced deceased on scene at the time of the original incident. The 86 year old male victim has been identified as Paul C. Marino of Elkton, MD, who was initially admitted to an area hospital in critical condition. On Saturday, May 9, 2020, Mr. Marino succumbed to his injuries and was pronounced deceased at the hospital.

Troopers were dispatched to the Delaware Veterans Memorial Cemetery located at 2465 Chesapeake City Road, for a report of shots being fired. Upon arrival, Troopers located two adults, one male and one female, who both sustained gunshot wounds.

At approximately 11:08 a.m., officers on scene observed a male subject running into a wooded area, between the cemetery and Brennan Blvd., in the development of Brennan Estates. Officers immediately secured the area where the subject was observed.

At approximately 12:08 p.m., an exchange of gunfire took place between officers on scene and the suspect in the wooded area. During this exchange no law enforcement officers were injured.

At approximately 4:00 p.m., officers made entry in to the wooded area where they located the suspect who was confirmed to be deceased. They also observed that the suspect, a 29 year old Middletown man, had sustained an apparent gunshot wound. It is undetermined at this time if the gunshot wound was self-inflicted or as a result of the earlier exchange of gunfire.


The investigation is active and ongoing and will be furthered by the Delaware State Police Homicide Unit. Anyone with information regarding the incident is asked to contact Det. M. Ryde by calling 302-698-8557. Information may also be provided by calling Delaware crime stoppers at 1-800-TIP-3333 or via the internet at delaware.crimestoppersweb.com