Suspect in Delaware state trooper's murder fatally shot; standoff over

Thursday, April 27, 2017 10:58AM
Standoff with trooper murder suspect over: Matt O'Donnell reports during an Action News Breaking News Special Report on April 27.

MIDDLETOWN, Del. - The suspect who fatally shot a Delaware State Police trooper and kept authorities on alert during a nearly 20 hour standoff was shot and killed by police Thursday morning.

Chopper 6 over house after Delaware standoff

Delaware State Police say the suspect exited his home in the 500 block of St. Michaels Drive in the Brick Mill Farms Development in Middletown and engaged police.

"The suspect was then shot by law enforcement. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:29 a.m.," state police said.

Residents in the area remain evacuated.

The Odessa Fire Company, located at 304 Main Street in Odessa, has opened its facility to temporarily house the evacuated residents of Brick Mill Farms Development.

The suspect was wanted in the shooting death of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard.
Standoff with Del. suspect

Ballard was shot around 12 p.m. Wednesday at the Wawa store on Pulaski Highway (Route 40) near Salem Church Road.

Ballard, 32, was an 8.5-year veteran of the Delaware State Police and was assigned to patrol at Troop 2, Glasgow.

Del. State Trooper shot and killed

Officials say the trooper spotted a suspicious vehicle occupied by two suspects in the Wawa parking lot.

Ballard made contact, officials say, and then there was a struggle.

Video from the Action Cam at the scene in Bear, Del.
Raw video: Trooper shot at Wawa store in Bear, Del.

That's when one of the two suspects got out of the vehicle and fired several rounds, striking Ballard.

Kevin Lerner, who works at the barber shop next to Wawa, says he saw the shooting.

"When he pushed the officer he got a little room to run. So he pushed him and ran, and when he ran he ran for like seven or eight feet. And then he turned around and started shooting," said Lerner. "Just instantly started shooting."
Responding troopers arrived at the scene and took one of the suspects into custody without incident.

The other suspect fled on foot prior to their arrival.

Cpl. Ballard was rushed to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

Video: Del. state police news conference on trooper's death
State Police say trooper has died

"This is a sad day for our state and our Delaware State Police family. We ask that you keep the trooper's family, and the Delaware State Police family, in your thoughts and prayers," said Delaware State Police Superintendent Nathaniel McQueen.

A caravan of law enforcement vehicles accompanied the slain officer's body to the state Division of Forensic Services for an autopsy, and observers placed their hands over their hearts as it passed by.

VIDEO: Police escort for fallen Del. trooper

VIDEO: Dignified escort for fallen Del. trooper
VIDEO: Dignified escort for fallen Del. trooper

The suspect ended up in his home in Middletown, where he was believed to be alone.

Video: Chopper 6 over search for suspect in Middletown, Del.
Raw video: Trooper shooting suspect search in Middletown, Del.

Police say the male suspect refused orders to surrender and fired shots at officers.

Delaware State Police say at 8:22 p.m. Wednesday, the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit utilized an explosive breaching charge on the front door, however, they did not enter the home.

Around 4 a.m. Thursday, Delaware State Police say officers once again came under fire from the suspect. Windows on the home were explosively breached by authorities.

Multiple Special Operations Response Teams and Conflict Management Teams from police agencies attempted to make contact with the suspect to persuade him to surrender.

Then at 9:17 a.m., state police say the suspect exited the home where, after a confrontation with officers, he was shot and killed.

The identity of both suspects have not been released.

Delaware Gov. John Carney is offering his condolences to the relatives and colleagues of a slain state trooper.

The governor issued a statement after the trooper's death was announced at a hospital in Wilmington. He says his "heart is with the officer's family and the officers who have served beside him."
Carney says "officers go to work every day knowing they put their lives on the line to protect ours." He says Delawareans are "incredibly indebted to their bravery and service."

Wawa officials released a statement Wednesday night saying, "We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation that occurred in the parking lot of our Bear, Delaware store today. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with the officer's family and the entire Delaware State Police community during this difficult time."

The statement notes that the store will remain closed until Saturday "Out of respect to the officer, our associates and all those affected."

Previous coverage:

Standoff with suspect in Del.
Del. trooper dies after shooting; suspect barricaded
State police trooper shot in Del., suspect sought
State police trooper shot in Bear, Del.
State trooper shot outside Wawa
Shooting at Wawa in Bearl, Del.
Shooting reported at Bear, Del. Wawa store
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