BEAR, Del. (CBS) — A Delaware State Trooper has died after being shot outside of a Wawa, police say.
The Trooper was identified as 32-year-old Cpl./1 Stephen J. Ballard. Officials say he was an 8.5 year veteran of the Delaware State Police and was assigned to patrol at Troop 2, Glasgow.READ MORE: Flames Badly Damage Parkway Inn In Delaware County
The shooting happened on the 1600 block of Pulaski Highway in Bear, Delaware.
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Police say the trooper noticed a suspicious vehicle with two suspects inside.
Delaware State Police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen, Jr. says the trooper approached the suspects, and a struggle ensued. One of them got out of the vehicle, and shot the trooper multiple times.
“The trooper was treated at the scene by paramedics, and transported to Christiana Hospital, where he succumbed to his injuries,” said McQueen.
“I can’t shake that I can’t get that image out of my head,” said eyewitness Quinzel Brady. “I can’t get that image out of my head.”
Quinzel looked back in time enough to see the trooper fall to the ground after being gunned down.
“I saw him fall,” Brady said. “Yeah, it was something I didn’t wanna see, but I saw him fall.”
The Wawa has been closed and will remain closed until Saturday. The store released the following statement:
“We are deeply saddened by the tragic situation that occurred in the parking lot of our Bear, Delaware store today. Our hearts are broken and our thoughts and prayers are with the officer’s family and the entire Delaware State Police community during this difficult time. Out of respect to the officer, our associates and all those affected, the store will remain closed until Saturday. We will continue to do everything we can to help.”
Police say one of the suspects was taken into custody without incident at the scene. The other suspect fled and police say is barricaded inside a home in the 500 block of St. Michaels Drive, Brick Mill Farm Development. SWAT teams and police rushed to the subdivision where the suspect has been firing at police for hours.
Police are hoping for a peaceful resolution.
“The suspect has been firing shots at the police officers from the residence that he lives in and is currently held up in the house,” said Master Cpl. Gary Fournier.READ MORE: Fire Damages Rowhome In Philadelphia's Logan Neighborhood
Nearby Brick Mill Elementary School was on lockdown for several hours. Parents picked up their children to keep them away from the scene.
“I was terrified and I still have my daughter in Reading Middle School so I’m trying to get to her myself,” said Vidalia Vidal. “It was very terrifying. I didn’t know all the details until I started reading it online.”
Neighbors can’t get into their homes as many are nervously watching and waiting.
“I tried to get here from work because my exterminator was coming and then my exterminator called me and said, ‘I can’t get in your neighborhood,’ and I said, ‘I can’t even get in my neighborhood,'” said Karen Nardo.
Later thoughout Wednesday night, the Explosives Ordinance Disposal Unit used an explosive breeching charge on the front door, but was unable to gain entrance inside the residence.
As of midnight, authorities continued to attempt to persuade the suspect to surrender.
The Brick Mill Farms Development remains evacuated. The Odessa Fire Company has opened its facility to temporarily house the residents while police continue to negotiate with the suspect.
There have been no reported injuries.
Roads were shut down for the procession for the fallen trooper as people paid their respects. The body of the fallen trooper was taken to the Division of Forensic Science in Wilmington.
Police saluted the trooper as his casket was wheeled into the building.
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There is no word on a motive at this time.