|On Wednesday, April 26, 2017, Corporal/1 Stephen J. Ballard, 32, was tragically shot and killed while investigating a suspicious vehicle at a Wawa gas station on Pulaski Highway and Salem Church Road, in Bear, Delaware. He made contact with two people he observed in the vehicle, at which point one of the men began struggling with him. The man pushed Corporal Ballard away from him and began to run. After taking several steps he turned around and opened fire on Corporal Ballard, wounding him. The man then chased Corporal Ballard as he sought cover behind a vehicle. The man shot him numerous times, including several times after Corporal Ballard fell to the ground. Responding Troopers apprehended one of the subjects at the scene. The second subject fled to his home where he barricaded himself inside. After a long standoff, the subject exited his home and opened fire on officers, who returned fire killing him.
Corporal Ballard had served with the Delaware State Police for 8-1/2 years and was assigned to Troop 2, Glasgow. He enlisted in the Delaware State Police on 10/31/2008 graduating from the 80th Academy Class and stationed at Troop 4, Georgetown. Cpl/1 Ballard was later transferred to Troop 3, Camden and then Troop 2, Glasgow. Cpl/1 Ballard was a member of the DSP Conflict Management Team and had temporary assignments to the Drug Diversion Unit and as a School Resource Officer. He is survived by his wife, Louise Lewis Ballard; daughter, Abigail Lewis; parents, Kevin and Robin Ballard; paternal grandmother, Ruth Noble; mother-in-law, Sharon Cummings.
A Celebration of Life Service was held on Friday, May 5th, at The Chase Center on the Riverfront, 815 Justison Street, Wilmington, DE 19801, from 8:30-11:00 am. Interment Gracelawn Memorial Park, 2220 N. Dupont Highway, New Castle, DE, immediately following the services. An estimated 1,000 members of law enforcement from 36 states traveled from across the country to pay their respects to the Ballard family, and at least another 700 officers from Delaware as rain fell on this dreary day. Senators Tom Carper and Chris Coons attended the services, as well as State House Rep. Lisa Blunt Rochester and the Governor. Governor John C. Carney, Jr. remarked that, “Corporal Ballard dedicated his career to noble service, putting his life on the line to protect the rest of us. We owe Corporal Ballard- and all of the officers who serve on our behalf- and enormous debt of gratitude. We should remain mindful of their service today and every day.” Former Vice President Joe Biden also paid his respects.