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NCCU student’s friends, family seek answers in fatal shooting

September 27, 2018

Family and friends of the North Carolina Central University student fatally shot by a security guard are putting pressure on police to explain what happened.

DeAndre Ballard was shot outside his Durham apartment complex Sept. 17th.

The Durham Police Department and the security agency that employs the guard did not answer a reporter’s questions about what happened that night. They also declined to release the guard’s name.

Police haven’t charged anyone in Ballard’s death but said an investigation is ongoing.

The security company, NC Detective Agency, said the guard acted in self-defense when shooting Ballard, a senior at NC Central University.

Frustrations are mounting as Ballard’s loved ones seek answers.

Speaking by phone in New Bern, Ballard’s mother said she was told Ballard was trying to break into cars and got into a tussle with the guard.

“According to the security guard, he was saying that he was trying to fight him, trying to get his gun,” Ernisha Ballard said. “I just find that hard to believe, that DeAndre would do anything like that.”

DeAndre Ballard’s friend Brian Best said by phone from Raleigh that he doesn’t believe the guard’s explanation either.

Best has already protested once in Durham, marching downtown. He’s planning to do it again.

“Durham needs to do a very thorough job of investigating this and getting to the truth,” Best said. “What we have now is definitely not that.”

The Private Protective Services Agency oversees all registered security guards in the state. Its director said that to be certified as an armed guard, one needs 36 hours of training.

Brian Jones, the agency’s director, said it was monitoring the situation. The agency will decide whether to start an investigation to determine if there’s a violation of its statute after Durham police conclude their investigation, he said.

Jones said the last time an armed security guard killed someone in North Carolina was in 2017.

NC Detective Agency said earlier this week that the guard involved in Ballard’s death is state-certified and has 15 years of experience.

“We hand-pick these officers,” NC Detective Agency’s vice president Kevin Ladd said. “We do extensive background checks, drug tests.”

Records from the Private Protective Services Board show several violations for the NC Detective Agency’s president, Roger Ladd. The violations are from 2010 to 2012 for failing to properly train guards and for falsifying training records.

Roger Ladd was forced to pay about $2,600 in fines.

Kevin Ladd did not respond to questions about the violations, citing the police investigation.

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