Police: Trooper slaying suspect killed in shootout as standoff ends

The body of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard is saluted as his remains leave the Medical Examiner’s Office. (Photo: Delaware Free News)
Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard (Photo: Delaware State Police)

MIDDLETOWN, DELAWARE (4/27/2017) A standoff with a suspect in the fatal shooting of a Delaware State Police trooper has ended in a shootout and the death of the suspect, authorities said this morning.

“At 9:17 a.m., the male suspect exited the residence and engaged police,” Master Cpl. Jeffrey Hale said. “The suspect was then shot by law enforcement. He was pronounced dead at the scene at 9:29 a.m.”

Police later identified the suspect as 26-year-old Burgon Sealy Jr.

The standoff on St. Michael Drive in the Brick Mill Farm community began Wednesday afternoon, following the shooting of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, 32, at a Wawa store on U.S. 40 in Bear, about 8.5 miles north of the home.

Ballard, who had been with the state police force 8½ years, was shot multiple times after one of two suspects in a car got out and started firing. He was assigned to patrol at Troop 2 in Glasgow.

Col. Nathaniel McQueen Jr., superintendent of state police, said today that Sealy was a passenger in the car, a red Dodge Charger, but had arrived at the Wawa in a grey Honda Accord.

McQueen said Ballard had told Sealy to get out of the Charger, and it was then that a struggle ensued. 

Sealy, firing with a handgun pulled from his waistband, struck Ballard, who attempted to take cover behind a parked car, McQueen said.

Burgon Sealy Jr. (Photo: Delaware State Police)

“Sealy pursued him, and the suspect fired a handgun, striking him in the upper body,” McQueen said. “Cpl. Ballard immediately went to the ground, and the suspect fired multiple rounds at close range, again striking him in the upper body.”

Sealy fled in the grey Honda, McQueen said. Investigators learned he then contacted his family, who informed state police.

The male driver of the Charger remained at the scene and was taken into custody by responding troopers. McQueen said he later was released.

Police said their investigation led them to the Brick Mill Farm home, which is outside Middletown but along its northern border, and the suspect inside the home fired numerous times at officers outside.

Police said Sealy lives there with his family, but was alone in the house during the standoff.

At 8:22 p.m. Wednesday, officers set off an explosive to breach the front door, state police Master Cpl. Gary Fournier said. But no attempt was made to enter.

Home on St. Michael Drive in Brick Mill Farm (Photo: Google maps)

The standoff continued through the night, and about 4 a.m. today officers again came under fire from Sealy, said Fournier.

Authorities breached numerous windows with explosives, he said, but had not entered the home. Fournier said various agencies were on the scene attempting to persuade the suspect to surrender.

Nearby residents were evacuated, and the Odessa Fire Company opened its facility at 304 Main St. in Odessa to house those forced from their homes.

McQueen said this afternoon that most of the evacuated residents have been allowed to return home.

New Castle County police said the Brick Mill Farm community is now open but the street where the standoff occurred remains closed.

Georgetown officials announced a candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. Monday on The Circle “in honor of Corporal Stephen Ballard’s ultimate sacrifice.”

Trooper fatally shot at Wawa store in Bear is identified

State police officials and Gov. John Carney held a news conference this afternoon in Glasgow to release details on the slaying of Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard. (Photo: Delaware Free News)