Police Officers, Former Neighbors Remember Cpl. Stephen Ballard - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Police Officers, Former Neighbors Remember Cpl. Stephen Ballard

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del. - As Mac McCormick watched the news on Wednesday, detailing that a Delaware State Police trooper had been shot and killed in Bear, he was afraid the victim was his former neighbor.

"I said to my wife, 'Oh my God' I hope this isn't Steve,'" he tells WBOC. "I just had a gut feeling, it was him."

McCormick's suspicions were unfortunately correct, as Delaware State Police announced Corporal Stephen Ballard was the slain officer. McCormick says Ballard lived next door to he and his wife in the Hearthstone Manor neighborhood in Milford for a number of years.

"He was a terrific cop. He cared about his neighbors," McCormick says. "We just cannot believe it because he was such a fine gentleman."

McCormick says Ballard moved upstate over a year ago to be closer to his fiancee. He says Ballard was also working a lot of overtime to save money for a house upstate too.

Despite being stationed at Troop 2 in Glasgow, Ballard's death reverberates strongly in Sussex County. Many police departments, including Milton, Milford and Millsboro, are wearing black bands over their badges to remember Ballard. 

"I did not know the young man, but he's still my brother," says Milton Police Chief Robert Longo. "Our patches are different, but we all bleed blue."

"We will stand united with the Delaware State Police on anything that they need," he says.

Longo says his officers will attend Ballard's funeral when arrangements are announced. 

Pfc. Mikhail Stanton with the Milford Police Department says he knew Cpl. Ballard personally, and says his loss is one that affects the entire state.

"He stopped in [to the station a couple of times] and said hi," Stanton says. "He always had a smile on his face, always was willing to serve the community."

Ballard was an eight and half year veteran of the force. Governor John Carney has ordered all flags in the state to be flown at half-staff in Ballard's honor.

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