Delaware State Trooper shot to death in Wawa parking lot identified

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A Delaware State Trooper died Wednesday afternoon after being shot in the parking lot of a Wawa in Bear, New Castle County, police said.

Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, 32, served more than eight years on the state police, where he was assigned to Troop 2, Glasgow.

A suspect has been holed up in a house in Middletown, about 17 miles south, and has fired at police, officials said in a news release Wednesday night. Police attempted to use explosives to enter through the home’s front door, but have yet to enter the house. 

Police said the trooper was shot just after noon following a confrontation with a suspicious-looking vehicle and its two occupants in the store’s parking lot. One of the vehicle’s occupants exited the vehicle and fired at the trooper, police said.

One of the suspects was taken into custody, while the other fled on foot. 

During a press conference Wednesday afternoon, Delaware State Police Superintendent Nathaniel McQueen asked that the public keep the trooper’s family in their thoughts and prayers.

“This is a sad day for our state and our Delaware State Police family,” McQueen said.

Gov. John Carney had reportedly gone to Christiana Hospital in Newark, where the trooper was taken. He later released a statement, thanking the officer for his service, and acknowledging that residents of the state are “incredibly indebted” to police officers who “go to work every day knowing they put their lives on the line to protect ours.”

Traffic was congested around the Newark-area convenience store, which is located at 1605 Pulaski Highway, said Sgt. Richard D. Bratz, a Delaware State Police spokesman.

Bratz reported that multiple law-enforcement agencies had responded to the Brick Mill Farm Development in Middletown where a “male suspect has refused orders to surrender and continues to fire rounds at police officers.”

Stay with as the story develops.

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