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Man killed in Delaware police shooting had previously fled from police, records show

Isabel Hughes - Delaware Online

The man killed by police following multiple carjackings and several shootouts on Friday had a number of previous run-ins with the law, including an incident where he fled from police, according to court records.

Police identified 39-year-old Jonathan Wiseman on Monday. He was fatally shot by police Friday morning in the area of I-95 and Route 896 near Newark following a 90-minute, multi-city chase that began in Newport.

The incident, which involved nearly a half-dozen police agencies throughout northern Delaware, left drivers stranded on roadways for hours as investigators and medical personnel worked to piece together what happened.

Police said the incident began in the 100 block of Ayre St. in Newport around 7:30 a.m. when Delaware State Police troopers were dispatched to a report of a "suspicious person with a gun." When arriving troopers made contact with Wiseman, he ran.

Police chased Wiseman to an area near Route 141, where a shootout ensued. While no one was hurt, a bus carrying high school students was hit three times. One of the bullets entered the school bus, while another was lodged in the seventh-row window, where a student was sitting.

Police said Friday they are working to determine whether the bullets that hit the bus came from officers' weapons or a gun they say Wiseman had.

Following the exchange of gunfire in Newport, police say Wiseman ran onto Route 141 and carjacked one person before fleeing down I-95 south toward Newark.

That triggered additional shootouts at several locations, as well as another carjacking, over a period of about an hour. Delaware State Police said they were ultimately able to stop Wiseman's car near Route 896.

That's when police "engaged" the 39-year-old in gunfire, killing him. Police said on Friday that troopers tried to give first aid but "it was immediately apparent that the suspect would not survive his injuries."

Wiseman no stranger to police

Court records show Wiseman's run-ins with the law date back nearly two decades, to at least the mid-2000s.

In 2006, he was sentenced to four years in prison in Delaware, which was to be suspended once he successfully completed a drug program.

That sentence came following a guilty plea to harassment, terroristic threatening, drug charges, burglary, forgery and theft in connection with four separate cases.

While court records do not show exactly when Wiseman was released from prison on those charges, several years later, police said he committed a string of jewelry store thefts across Delaware, Maryland and Pennsylvania.

Pennsylvania court records show he was sentenced to about three months in prison for one of the thefts in Bucks County, and another five months in prison for one of the Delaware County thefts. Wiseman's actual time behind bars was reduced based on time he'd already spent in jail awaiting court events.

Records show Wiseman's contact with the Pennsylvania judicial system didn't end there.

In November 2019, he was charged by the Westtown/East Goshen Police Department in Chester County, Pennsylvania for fleeing from officers.

He pleaded guilty in May of 2020 to the misdemeanor charge and was sentenced to 243 days confinement, with credit for time already served. He had been held in jail from the time of his November arrest until the plea.

Several months after being released, in September 2020, Wiseman was again arrested in Chester County, this time for retail theft. Court records show he posted bond.

His case was set to go to trial in April of this year, though the date had repeatedly been rescheduled. The case is currently listed as "inactive."

In addition to cases in Pennsylvania, Wiseman had several open cases in Maryland, most related to various thefts in 2019.

Wiseman's most recent contact with the judicial system was in Delaware last July, when he was arrested for drug dealing. He pleaded guilty to a class C felony and was sentenced to five years in prison, suspended for one year at level three probation.

That meant instead of being incarcerated, he was on intensive supervision despite having a long history of probation violations. In one case from 2013 – where he spent about two years in prison – court records show he violated his probation at least four times after being released.

Recent records show that within five weeks of of the February sentence, Wiseman had violated his probation. Several cases remained open at the time of his death due to repeated probation violations.

Delaware Online/News Journal archives show that Wiseman, who was arrested for drug possession in several states over the years, underwent several drug treatment programs in Delaware as part of his prison sentences.

Newspaper archives say he graduated from Delcastle Technical High School in 2001.

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