A Delaware State Trooper from Bowie, Maryland, who was shot and killed in the line of duty Wednesday is being remembered for his kindness, leadership and willingness to serve.
Cpl. Stephen J. Ballard, 32, was shot dead in the parking lot of a Wawa convenience store in Bear, Delaware, NBC10 reported. A struggle ensued as Ballard had investigated two men in a suspicious car. Ballard, an 8-plus year veteran assigned to Troop 2, Glasgow, never had the chance to pull his weapon, authorities said.
Police later shot and killed the armed suspect after an hours-long standoff, Delaware State Police said.
Paul Cienciolo, Ballard's former mentor, told News4 Thursday that Ballard joined the Civil Air Patrol as a teenager. The organization allows young people to work closely with the Air Force.
Cienciolo said Ballard stood out from the beginning.
"He was a big lovable teddy bear, I guess you could say. Everyone enjoyed being around him he was always, you now, the one that everyone liked to talk to," Cienciolo said.
At just 18-years-old, Ballard was a leader.
He was tasked with overseeing more than 100 cadets in the Civil Air Patrol in 2005.
Ballard then went on to college at Delaware State University and shortly after graduation he became a state trooper.
"He always had a passion to do something in that realm where he was serving and helping people in need," Cienciolo said. "I think that's how he saw being a state trooper too is somewhere where he could help people in need."
Cienciolo said Ballard left behind a wife and a young child.