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Suspect in Delaware Trooper Killing Dead After Standoff

Police gun down barricaded suspect in Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard's death

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    NEWSLETTERS

    A large memorial continues to grow outside a Delaware Wawa where Delaware State Cpl. Stephen Ballard was gunned down earlier this week. Meanwhile, the FBI and state investigators are combing through the home where one of the suspected shooters barricaded himself inside for nearly a day.

    (Published Thursday, April 27, 2017)

    A man suspected in the fatal shooting of a Delaware State Police trooper is dead after a standoff with police that lasted nearly a day.

    Burgon Sealy Jr. was shot dead Thursday morning after he "engaged police" outside a house in Middletown, 15 miles from the Wawa parking lot where Cpl. Stephen Ballard was killed Wednesday.

    SkyForce10 video shows the home's windows, garage door and front door were blown out and debris are all over the lawn in the aftermath of the standoff.

    The overnight standoff unfolded after 32-year-old Ballard was shot dead shortly after noon Wednesday in the parking lot of the Wawa convenience store at 1605 Pulaski Highway in Bear, Delaware. A struggle ensued as Ballard had investigated two men in a red Dodge Charger.

    Ballard, an 8-plus year veteran assigned to Troop 2, Glasgow, never had the chance to pull his weapon, authorities said.

    Faith Allen and three other witnesses ran to Ballard and tried to perform CPR on him. Ballard was later taken to Christiana Hospital, where he died from his injuries.

    "He shot him right in the head," Allen told NBC10. "I mean, it's sad. When you try to save somebody it's even worse when you find out they didn't make it."

    State police superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said the vehicle had two suspicious people inside.
    One man got out of the car and shot Ballard several times before running away, McQueen said at a Wednesday afternoon news conference. The other man was arrested at the scene.

    "This is a sad day for our state and for the Delaware State Police family," McQueen said as Gov. John Carney stood at his side.

    State police superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said the vehicle had two suspicious people inside.

    The Charger had two suspicious people inside and had been in the parking lot for some time, State police superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said. Sealy Jr., who was in the passenger seat, got out of the car and began struggling with Ballard, McQueen said.

    Sealy fired at Ballard as he fled then fired multiple rounds at the officer at close range while he was down, McQueen added. The 26-year-old suspect then jumped in his own gray Honda and drove off, the superintendenet continued.

    The other man in the car was arrested at the scene and later released as he is not a suspect in Ballard's killing, according to police.

    Sealy fleed the scene and eventually arrived at a home on the 500 block of St. Michaels Drive in the Brick Mill Farm Development in Middletown, Delaware, investigators said.

    Sealy's family alerted police of his location after he contacted them, according to investigators.

    A SWAT team and officers surrounded the home and a barricade situation was declared Wednesday afternoon. The gunman, alone in the suburban house, refused to leave and fired several shots at officers surrounding the home, state police spokesman Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said. 

    No other officers were injured.

    Hostage negotiators were on the scene and established contact with the man in an effort to get him to surrender peacefully, police said. But there was no quick resolution as the standoff stretched into Thursday after Sealy cut off communication with police before the he was shot and killed.

    Police said in a statement that officers came under fire at the home in Middletown about 4 a.m. Thursday. On Wednesday, police said they earlier blew off windows with explosives and they blew the front door off its hinges, but did not enter.

    "There was definitely gunfire, I could hear them on the bullhorn but I couldn't really make out what they were saying," said Susan Drejka who remained in her home nearby.

    Police said they kept trying to make contact with the man to persuade him to surrender peacefully but that didn't happen.

    Around 8 a.m. Thursday, movement could be seen in the area of the standoff as an ambulance and armored vehicle rushed toward the home, reported NBC10's Katy Zachry. The barricade situation ended about an hour later with the shootout that left the suspect dead despite immediate medical care on the scene, police said.

    Siding from the standoff home wound up ripped from the house -- a sign of the violent barricade situation. Most of the windows and doors on the home were also broken.

    The medical examiner performed an autopsy on Sealy's body that could help reveal if he was under the influence at the time of his death, police said. Sealy was charged in 2013 with concealed weapons and drug charges in Volusia County, Florida but police on Thursday wouldn't elaborate on those previous allegations.

    Some residents in the Brick Mill Farm community were evacuated while others weren't allowed to leave their homes. Brick Mill Elementary on Brick Mill Road was put on lockdown during the standoff. The lockdown for the school was later lifted (and school opened Thursday morning) and the lockdown for the homes remained in effect into late Thursday morning when New Castle County police lifted the lockdown.

    Thursday, Carney thanked Brick Mill neighbors for their cooperation during the standoff and investigation.

    Ballard lived in Milford, Delaware, but was originally from Bowie, Maryland, according to his Facebook page. He got married to his wife Louise earlier this year and left behind a daughter, Carney said while saying his heart aches for the Ballard family and all people and officers across the state.

    A gunman killed Cpl. Stephen Ballard in a Bear, Delaware Wawa parking lot.
    Photo credit: NBC10 / Delaware State Police

    A police procession was held early Wednesday evening as Ballard's body was taken from Christiana Hospital to the Medical Examiner's Office in Wilmington, Delaware. Troopers carried a flag-draped coffin into the building.

    Throughout the night, residents in the area dropped off candles and flowers at the Wawa in Bear, Delaware, to pay tribute to Ballard. Delaware Gov. John Carney ordered all flags to be flown at half-staff in memory of the fallen trooper.

    A Wawa spokesperson said "we are deeply saddened by the tragic situation that occurred in the parking lot of our Bear, Delaware, store."