At 10:00pm on September 17th, 23-year-old DeAndre Ballard was fatally shot at his off-campus apartment complex. A student at North Carolina Central University, Ballard allegedly walked out of his apartment without a phone, shoes, keys, or identification and began trying to break into cars in the parking lot.
The last car he tried to enter belonged to a security guard who was on duty at the complex. According to police, Ballard got into the car and began fighting with the guard, attempting to take his gun, at which point he was shot. The bullet hit his arm and entered his stomach. At 10:15pm, officers arrived and took him to the hospital, where Ballard died the next morning.
The security guard’s employer, NC Detective Agency, stands by his claim of self defense. The agency’s Vice President, Kevin Ladd, says another security guard witnessed the incident, and his statement is consistent with the above sequence of events. This was the guard’s first such incident in 15 years of work.
“In our eyes this is a tragic accident,” said Ladd. “It never should have gotten to this, but our officer was fearful for his life.”
Ladd says he’s been receiving death threats as a result of his support for his employee.
“With what’s going on in this country, people are assuming that this is a white officer, I guess because I was on TV, and I’m white,” Ladd added.
The officer who shot Ballard, however, is black.
Predictably, Ballard’s family members don’t think the situation warranted a defensive gun use.
“They told his mom that DeAndre got inside the guard’s car, tried to fight the guard, and then he got back out and tried to grab the guard’s gun,” said Ballard’s cousin Ontoia Becton. “That doesn’t sound like self-defense.”
Ballard’s mother, Ernisha Ballard, also thinks the security guard shouldn’t have drawn his gun.
“How is it self-defense when my son was unarmed?” Ms. Ballard asked. “My son, he’s not even a big person. So, why would you feel that your life was in danger because you thought that my son was going to do something to you? It’s not 100 percent justifiable. I don’t buy it.
“I feel like this is something that they just want to sweep under the rug and say, ‘Ok, DeAndre did this to the officer and he had all the right to kill him.’ No, he did not have the right to kill my son.”
If events really did occur as reported by the two security officers, this looks like a justified self-defense shooting. Although the investigation is ongoing, no charges have been filed against the officer at this time, and he is still on duty at a different location.