David Chang

Neighbor Shoots, Kills Former Teacher and High School Football Coach During Argument, Police Say

Joseph Iavarone, 44, died from his injuries on Tuesday, two days after the shooting.

A former teacher and high school football coach was shot and killed by his neighbor following an argument outside his Delaware County, Pennsylvania, home, police said.

Joseph Iavarone, 44, died from his injuries on Tuesday, two days after the shooting. Iavarone’s neighbor, John Jeffrey Ballas, 49, was arrested and charged in his murder.

Ballas' preliminary hearing is scheduled for June 11. His attorney, James Bonner, declined to comment.

Police said the ordeal began Sunday shortly after 3 a.m. outside Ballas' home on the 100 block of Bishop Drive in Chester Heights.

Iavarone, who might have been intoxicated, was damaging property outside the house and arguing with Ballas' son, who was inside the home, according to statements from three witnesses, including Ballas' wife.

Witnesses told police Iavarone repeatedly threatened Ballas' son, telling him to come outside to fight. Ballas then allegedly grabbed a gun, exited his home and confronted Iavarone outside, telling him he was armed.

Investigators obtained an audio recording of the confrontation. According to the affidavit, the following exchange took place between the two men.

Iavarone: “I don’t f--- around.”
Ballas: “If you come on my yard again you’re going to get shot.”
Iavarone: “By who?”
Ballas: “Me.”

Iavarone then asked Ballas if he had a gun to which Ballas replied, “I f------ got a gun.” Iavarone then said, “Don’t shoot me, don’t shoot me, shoot me,” according to investigators.

After a few seconds of unintelligible conversation, Iavarone then said, "I don't f--- around," according to the affidavit.

A witness told police she saw Iavarone slowly walking toward Ballas. Ballas then allegedly opened fire, shooting Iavarone in the head.

Witnesses called police who arrived at the home shortly before 3:30 a.m. They found Iavarone face down on the ground near a pool of blood. They also found Ballas who allegedly admitted to shooting Iavarone.

Police later recovered Ballas’ weapon, a .38 special, Smith and Wesson revolver, according to the affidavit.

Iavarone was taken to Crozer Chester Hospital in critical condition while Ballas was taken into custody.

On Tuesday at 4:47 p.m., Iavarone was pronounced dead at Crozer Chester Hospital. Ballas was charged with criminal homicide, murder and possessing instruments of crime.

Iavarone was a former teacher in the Garnet Valley School District and the former head football coach at Garnet Valley High School. He resigned in March for personal reasons, according to the school district.

John Jeffrey Ballas. See full-sized image here.
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