Delaware trooper shot outside Wawa dies; suspect surrounded in home

- A Delaware state police trooper has died after being shot outside a Wawa in Bear, Delaware, Wednesday afternoon. 

State police said Wednesday at a news conference at Christiana Hospital that the trooper received treatment at the scene and was taken to the hospital, but passed away there.

The trooper has been identified as Cpl./1 Stephen J. Ballard. The 32-year-old was an 8.5 year veteran of the Delaware State Police and was assigned to patrol at Troop 2, Glasgow.

Shortly after the trooper's death was announced at Christiana Hospital, a lengthy cortege of state police vehicles left the hospital for a 9-mile trip to the Division of Forensic Science in Wilmington. All had red and blue lights flashing.

Live video from the start of the route showed one man on the sidewalk saluting the caravan, while several people put their hands on their hearts.

According to authorities, shortly after noon Wednesday a trooper observed a suspicious vehicle on Pulasky Highway in Newark. Two suspects were observed in the car. Authorities say one of the suspects exited the vehicle and fired several rounds hitting the trooper. One suspect was arrested without incident. The other suspect fled on foot.

Police say a suspect is holed up in a house about 15 miles south of the shooting scene and has fired on officers there. They are trying to negotiate with him.

Delaware state police say they used an explosive device to blow open the front door of the home. Master Cpl. Gary Fournier, a police spokesman, says the device was used to blow the front door off its hinges. It was detonated around 8:20 p.m. Wednesday. Police said in a statement that officers have yet to go inside the home.

Residents in the area remain evacuated. There are no reported injuries.

The Wawa in Bear, Del, 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."

U.S. Senator Tom Carper (D-Del.), released the following statement:
“My heart is in Delaware, and it breaks for the loved ones of the Delaware State Police trooper who will not return home this evening. Martha and I consider Delaware State troopers to be an extension of our family. We are sending our love and prayers to his friends, family and the Delaware State Police family. This unthinkable tragedy reminds us of the extraordinary courage and service of our men and women in law enforcement protecting our communities.
“My staff and I are closely monitoring this situation as it unfolds. I pray for the safety of our police officers and first responders on the scene.”
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