Durham police are investigating the shooting death of North Carolina Central University student that occurred the night of Sept. 17.
Officers responded to a gunshot wound call at an off-campus apartment complex in the area of 1400 East Cornwallis Road around 10:15 p.m. Upon arrival, officers found a man with what appeared to be a gunshot wound.
The man, identified Monday as DeAndre Marquise Ballard, 23, was transported to the hospital where he died the next morning.
The NC Detective Agency, who employs security guards, said one of their guards shot Ballard after the guard feared for his life.
“Everything that they’re taught is to diffuse a situation, but you’re also, if you’re fearful for your life, you have to protect yourself,” said Kevin Ladd, vice president of the NC Detective Agency. “A tragic incident happened. But, our officer, we fully 100 percent stand by him. This was a case of self-defense.”
Ladd would not provide any further details on why his employee “feared for his life” or what happened in the minutes before the shooting.
He did not identify the employee involved in the shooting. However, he did say the security officer has been with the company for 15 years. He’s been working at the Campus Crossings apartment complex, where last week’s shooting occurred, since the beginning of the year. He said the officer went through more than 30 hours of classroom training and 12 hours of training at a shooting range before receiving a state certification to work as an armed security officer. He was placed on administrative leave last week, Ladd said, and he returned to work Monday but was assigned to another location.
“He’s a family man. He feels terrible about it. All of us here at NC Detective Agency feel terrible about it. All of our thoughts and prayers are with Mr. Ballard’s loved ones,” said Ladd.
Ladd said Durham police officers questioned the security officer the night of the shooting and let him go. He said they also questioned a witness to the shooting.
When CBS 17 stopped by the apartment complex Monday evening, there were four security guards working at the entrance.
The chancellor of NCCU, Johnson O. Akinleye, posted a letter about Ballard on the school’s website.
According to the letter, Ballard, a senior, was a native of New Bern and was getting ready to graduate in next fall with a Bachelor of Science degree in physical education with a concentration in fitness and wellness.
Virginia Politano, an adjunct professor at NCCU, served as Ballard’s adviser.
“In his aerobics classes, he liked to teach. He liked to be the teacher. He was fun-loving. He was very, very respectful to both his peers and his instructors,” she said. “He wanted to do what he could for children. His main thing was to work with kids.”
Politano said Ballard hoped one day to become a physical education teacher, and that he planned to study for an additional teaching degree after graduating from NCCU next year.
Ballard was also a member of the university’s Bon Vivant Fashion Society and served as “Mr. Bon Vivant Fashion Society” for the 2017-2018 school year.
“Naturally, this sudden loss impacts his family greatly, as well as his many friends, his roommates and the entire NCCU community. I ask that we stand together in solidarity during this difficult time and collectively keep DeAndre Ballard and his loved ones in our thoughts and prayers,” Akinleye wrote.
No arrests have been made. The case remains under investigation.
Anyone with information is asked to call Investigator E. Ortiz at (919) 560-4440, ext. 29337 or CrimeStoppers at (919) 683-1200. CrimeStoppers pays cash rewards for information leading to arrests in felony cases and callers never have to identify themselves.