BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A tense 24 hours in Delaware ended Thursday morning with the death of a man accused of shooting and killing a State Trooper at a Wawa convenience store Wednesday afternoon in Bear.
One suspect was taken into custody shortly after the shooting. The second, 26-year-old Burgon Sealy, Jr., traveled to a residential neighborhood a few miles away in Middletown, barricaded himself in a home, and reportedly shot at police overnight.
Authorities say they brought in heavy equipment, blowing out the windows and doors of the house. Police say he exited the home and shot at them again around 9:15 a.m., at which point officers shot and killed him.
Cpl. Stephen Ballard, an eight-year veteran of the Delaware State Police who was originally from Bowie, Maryland, is the trooper who lost his life Wednesday. He was 32, a father, and was recently married.
At a press conference Thursday afternoon, Delaware State Police Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr. provided more details about the circumstances surrounding the shooting of Cpl. Ballard.
Visibly emotional, he said Ballard responded to the parking lot of the Wawa for a report of a suspicious vehicle, a red Dodge Charger. There were two men in the vehicle, both of whom provided ID, McQueen said.
When Ballard went to the passenger side to speak with Sealy, a struggle ensued after Sealy was asked to exit the vehicle, according to Col. McQueen. That’s when he allegedly began firing at Ballard with a handgun he took out of his waistband.
“Cpl. Ballard attempted to run for cover behind a parked vehicle,” Col. McQueen said. “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.”
The suspect then allegedly ran to a gray Honda that was also parked at the Wawa and fled the scene. The driver of the Dodge remained at the parking lot and was taken into custody by troopers who responded to the scene. He has since been released.
“This is a time to mourn, to mourn and lift up one of our own,” said Delaware Gov. John Carney Jr.
Police soon thereafter heard from Sealy’s family, who he had contacted to tell them what had happened. That’s how authorities learned where to find Sealy, at the house in Middletown.
Officers responded to the address, attempting to set up a perimeter around the home. The suspect fired at officers from inside, police say.
Negotiators attempted to get him to surrender, but his contact with negotiators stopped around 8:22 p.m., Col. McQueen said. That’s when explosives were used on the front door.
Attempts to contact Sealy throughout the night continued, “in the hopes we would have a peaceful surrender,” Col. McQueen said.
Around 4 a.m., officers said they heard numerous gunshots inside the house, but no contact was made with the suspect.
At 9:17 a.m., Sealy exited the house and again shot at officers, at which point he was shot and killed by authorities, despite “life-saving efforts.”
“It’s just shocking, you just don’t know, you know, what goes on behind, you know, your neighbors’ closed doors,” said neighbor April Samuels who knew the suspect.
“You got to take advantage of everyday like it’s your last, you know, we’re gonna go back to our normal lives, you know, it’s gonna take them a while to get through this,” said Middletown resident Daphne Cobb.
Ballard has a 5-year-old daughter and a memorial fund has been set up for the family.