No motive in Delaware trooper’s fatal shooting, standoff

No motive in Delaware trooper's fatal shooting, standoff

MIDDLETOWN, Del. — About 20 hours after he fatally shot a state trooper, a Delaware man was shot to death after an overnight standoff with police, but authorities haven’t given a motive for his actions.

Law enforcement officers shot Burgon Sealy Jr. when he emerged from his home armed Thursday morning and “engaged police,” state police Superintendent Col. Nathaniel McQueen said. He declined to say if Sealy fired a gun at that time.

After shooting the trooper Wednesday afternoon, the 26-year-old Sealy had fled in a car and holed up inside the home, refusing to surrender despite being surrounded. Police used explosives to blow open the home’s door and windows.

On Wednesday, Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard encountered Sealy in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store near Bear.

Ballard had noticed something suspicious about two men in a car when Sealy, the passenger, shot him with a handgun. Ballard, wounded, sought shelter behind a parked car, but Sealy chased after him and fired again, McQueen said, including several shots that he fired “at close range” when the officer was already on the ground.

Sealy then fled in another car he had driven to the store. The driver of the first car was questioned and released without any charges, police said.

Ballard, 32, died that afternoon at a hospital. His survivors include a wife and daughter, Gov. John Carney said Thursday.

Scott Adkins, 24, grew up on the same street as Sealy and went to middle school and high school with him. He remembered him as being fond of paintball and airsoft guns as early as middle school.

“Multiple times, we would tell the (school) bus driver he was talking about guns and stuff like that, but nothing ever came of it,” Adkins said.

Records show Sealy was arrested in 2013 in Florida on gun and drug charges.

In January 2011, he was convicted of resisting arrest after being taken into custody by Delaware State University police in 2010 on charges that also included offensive touching, disorderly conduct and criminal trespass. Those charges were dropped.

Carlos Holmes, a spokesman for DSU, said Sealy had attended the historically black school from fall 2010 to fall 2011 but did not graduate.

Cpl. Ballard also attended DSU, studying sociology and criminal justice before graduating in 2007, Holmes said.

McQueen declined to answer questions about Sealy’s possible motives, including whether investigators had discovered any links to terrorism. He also wouldn’t say whether Ballard might have been targeted, either individually or as a police officer.

“That investigation is still unfolding, and as those facts become available, we’ll certainly make them available,” he said.

After shooting the officer, Sealy called relatives and told them what he’d done, McQueen said, and they reported that to police.

Sealy then drove about 15 miles (25 kilometres) to his home in a subdivision near Middletown. Alone in the house, Sealy refused to leave and repeatedly fired at the officers who surrounded him. None was hit.

Police warned nearby residents to stay inside and lock their doors, and hostage negotiators established contact, trying to get Sealy to surrender peacefully. With no quick resolution, they blew the door of the house off its hinges shortly after 8 p.m.

About eight hours later, after officers again came under fire, police again used explosives to blow off windows. Hours more passed before Sealy came out armed and was killed.

Ballard had been on the force for more than eight years, state police spokesman Sgt. Richard Bratz said.

“This is a very sad day,” Gov. Carney said. “I stand before you with an aching heart, a heart that aches for Cpl. Ballard, his wife, his daughter, his family, a heart that aches for the Delaware State Police who served with him.”

___

Associated Press writers Ben Nuckols and Sarah Brumfield in Washington contributed to this report.

Randall Chase, The Associated Press

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