The widow of a slain Delaware State Trooper spoke publicly for the first time since her husband was gunned down outside of a Wawa store. Louise Cummings addressed a large crowd in Dewey Beach, Delaware Monday night after the community paid tribute to the fallen hero.
"Initially I didn't want to speak to anyone in the media," Cummings said. "And then I realized that Stephen's story needed to be told."
Cummings described her husband Cpl. Stephen Ballard as a good man who loved his family.
"That wasn't just me and Abigail," Cummings said. "That was you. That was the community. You are his family."
Cummings gave her speech at the same trooper barracks where she and Ballard met and got engaged.
"I chose to speak here because this is where we met," she said. "This is where Stephen started his career at Troop 4. This is where we were engaged at Dewey Beach. This is where we spent a lot of time together."
Cummings thanked the Delaware community for their continued support.
"I know he's smiling down now because he always wanted people to know how much he cared and how much he loved you and this is just incredible," she said. "So thank you. Thank you so much."
Ballard died Wednesday after approaching a vehicle with two suspicious people at the Wawa convenience store on Pulaski Highway in Bear, Delaware. Police said Burgon Sealy Jr. shot and killed the trooper and was ultimately killed after a lengthy standoff.
Police haven't discussed possible motives behind the deadly shooting.
Tributes have been made for Cpl. Ballard since his death and they continued Monday. Hundreds gathered for a rally Monday night in the trooper's memory in Bear, Delaware. Lines of bikers arrived at the Wawa parking lot where Ballard was killed. They were joined by the organization Concerns of Police Survivors (COPS).
"Where is the support for the officer when they're out on the street?" Eleanor Allione, a member of the group, asked. "Why are they being killed?"
After the rally, more people added to the growing memorial of cards and flowers outside the Wawa.
Another event honoring Cpl. Ballard took place Monday morning as a Christiana fire truck hung a flag over the Wawa store. The event featured speeches from fellow Delaware troopers and Ballard's family attended as well.
After the ceremony, mourners walked through the Wawa to see a plaque that will hang in the store that honors Ballard's service. A candlelight vigil also took place Monday night on The Circle in Georgetown, Delaware.
Ballard will be laid to rest Friday following a public viewing and memorial service at the Chase Center on the Riverfront along Justison Street in Wilmington, said Delaware State Police. (Click here for more funeral details.)
Delaware State Police set up a memorial fund Thursday for Ballard at the Delaware State Police Federal Credit Union -- checks should be made out to DSTA-Stephen Ballard Memorial Fund, PO Box 168, Cheswold DE 19936.
Wawa also announced that they will be collecting donations of $1 or more at the register of any of its 40 Delaware Wawa stores that will go toward the police memorial fund. Wawa pledged to match the first $50,000 in donations.