We are now learning more about what led up to Wednesday’s shooting death of Delaware State Police Trooper Cpl. Stephen Ballard.
State Police held a news conference this afternoon, four hours after the suspect accused of gunning down the Trooper was killed.
Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said an armed Burgon Sealy Jr. came out of his Middletown home, where he had barricaded himself overnight, and “engaged police.” He was then shot and killed by law enforcement.
Thursday’s news conference took place at Troop 2, Glasgow where Ballard, an 8-year-veteran of the force, was stationed. Flanked by Troopers on either side, McQueen detailed what transpired in the Wawa parking lot on Pulaski Highway in Bear yesterday afternoon.
McQueen said Ballard approached a parked Dodge Charger at 12:06 p.m. with two men acting suspiciously inside. McQueen said the car had been parked for hours and that Sealy was in the passenger seat. When Ballard asked Sealy to get out of the car, a struggle ensued. Then, Sealy pulled a gun and started firing at Ballard.
“Cpl. Ballard attempted to run for cover behind a parked vehicle. However, Sealy pursued him and the suspect fired a handgun striking him in the upper body. Cpl. Ballard immediately went to the ground. The suspect then fired multiple rounds at close range, again, striking him in the upper body,” said McQueen, tearfully.
McQueen said Sealy then sped off in his gray Honda Accord, that was also parked at the Wawa. The driver of the Dodge Charger was taken into custody and released.
McQueen said Sealy confessed he had shot a Trooper at the Wawa to a family member, who then relayed that information to police. That tip led officers to Sealy’s home in the Brick Mill Farms development, about 15 miles away.
“This is a tragic time for the Delaware State Police and for the state of Delaware. The acts of Stephen yesterday exemplified the dedication that he brought to the citizens of Delaware on a daily basis,” said McQueen, as he once again choked back tears.
Delaware Gov. John Carney expressed his condolences.
“I don’t have to tell anyone here, but this has been a difficult few months for Delaware’s law enforcement community. We have lost another officer who dedicated his career to a noble public service,” Carney said.
Sgt. Steven Floyd, a correctional officer, was killed in February during a hostage siege at Vaughn Correctional Center in Smyrna.
“I stand before you with an aching heart. A heart that aches for Cpl. Ballard, his wife, his daughter, his family. A heart that aches for the Delaware State Police who served with him. A heart that aches for law enforcement across our state,” Carney said.
Police would not elaborate in what way the suspects raised Ballard’s suspicions. McQueen would only say the investigation is ongoing.
A memorial fund has been established at the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union in Cpl. Ballard’s name. All proceeds will be given to his family. Checks can be made out to the DSTA-Stephen Ballard Memorial Fund, PO Box 168, Cheswold DE 19936.