A Maryland father would trade his late son's life for his own if he could.
Kevin Ballard's son, Delaware State Trooper Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, was shot and killed Wednesday during an investigation in a gas station parking lot in Bear, Delaware.
Kevin Ballard cried on Thursday as he spoke from his home in Accokeek, Maryland.
"If I could give my life right now to bring him back, I would, because he didn’t deserve the fate that he got," he said.
Cpl. Ballard, 32, was shot in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store as he investigated two men in a suspicious car.
The husband and father of a young child never had the chance to draw his weapon, authorities said.
The trooper's father got to speak some final words to his son. After Cpl. Ballard was shot, his wife put the trooper's father on speakerphone.
"The last words out of my mouth to him was, 'I love you. You can't leave me because you're all I have,'" Kevin Ballard recounted.
He quickly began making his way to his son's bedside. Prince George's County police escorted him to Joint Base Andrew, where he was transported via helicopter.
"I got in the helicopter and I asked the gentleman, 'How's my son?" he said, 'Unfortunately, he passed.' It was like everything inside me just went numb," Kevin Ballard said.
The suspect, Burgon Sealy Jr., 26, was shot and killed by police on Thursday after a standoff that lasted nearly a day.
The father said that once he returned to Delaware, he was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from Cpl. Ballard's colleagues and strangers.
Still, it did not eliminate the pain of losing his son.
"I want my son back. I would do anything to get him back right now," he said.
Ballard was raised in Bowie, Maryland. As a teenager, he joined the Civil Air Patrol, the organization that allows young people to work closely with the Air Force. His former mentor, Paul Cienciolo, said Ballard stood out from the beginning.
Ballard went on to attend Delaware State University. He became a state trooper shortly after he graduated.
"He always had a passion to do something in that realm, where he was serving and helping people in need," Cienciolo said.
The gunman's actions hurt a family and the world, Kevin Ballard said.
"He just took away a future from a young man that was promising to the community, promising to the family, and we can't get him back," he said.
Kevin Ballard will speak at his son's memorial service Friday.