Delaware gunman’s love of weapons went far back
MIDDLETOWN, Del. — A man who killed a state trooper and then was shot to death Thursday after a lengthy standoff with police had been fond of guns since middle school, a former neighbor and classmate said.
Burgon Sealy Jr., 26, was killed by law enforcement about 20 hours after he fatally shot the trooper, said the state police superintendent, Col. Nathaniel McQueen.
Sealy fled in a car and holed up inside his home, where he fired repeatedly at the officers who had him surrounded. He was finally shot when he emerged from the home armed Thursday morning and “engaged police,” McQueen said.
He declined to say if Sealy fired a gun at that time.
More details also emerged about Sealy’s encounter with Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store near Bear on Wednesday.
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 air soft 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.
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 kilometers) 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,” 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.