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Union Leader

Officer’s property scene of Goshen standoff
By Sunday News Staff

GOSHEN — A Province Road man was found dead yesterday more than 12 hours after he brandished a gun when a state trooper went to his home to investigate an assault complaint.

Brian Ball, 44, died of a self-inflicted gunshot wound and was pronounced dead early yesterday morning by a medical examiner, according to Marc B. Hathaway, Sullivan County attorney.

At about 2 p.m. on Friday, Ball had a confrontation with trooper Eric Berube.

Berube, accompanied by two other state police investigators, was following up on what state police Maj. Barry Hunter described as an assault “allegation that had been made recently.”

Hunter said Ball “was there in the home and had a conversation with the trooper and shortly thereafter, in the confines of the residence, he produced a handgun and threatened to shoot trooper Berube.

“Trooper Berube exercised outstanding judgment in being successful in managing to place himself away from the threat of deadly force,” Hunter said, in explaining how Berube made his way out of the house and then waited outside with the two other officers.

Within a few minutes, another adult left the house, leaving Ball alone inside.

The other person, whose identity was not released, was not injured and was “not a part in any capacity of the threat against trooper Berube,” Hunter said.
SWAT response

Soon, a contingent of about 30 officers, led by the state police Special Weapons and Tactics team, surrounded the house, which sits off a rural, gravel-based road.

Hathaway described it as a single-story wood-frame structure, with two separate living areas connected by a breezeway.

Ball lived on one side of the building and the family of his brother, Sullivan County Sheriff’s Department Lt. William J. Ball, occupied the other side, Hathaway said.

No one was in the William Ball residence when the standoff began, Hunter said.

Police tried to communicate with Brian Ball, using telephones and loudspeakers to urge him to come out of the house.
Never a response “We had two negotiators who tried for several hours to solicit a response. There was never any communication from him,” Hunter said.

Hathaway said the SWAT team gained entrance about 3 a.m. after firing canisters of gas into the house.

“There was no exchange of gunfire,” said Hathaway, emphasizing that none of the officers fired their weapons, nor did they hear any gun fire from inside the house at any time.

Ball’s body was found inside the house.

“My analysis of the time of death, based on post-mortem visual inspection of the victim, is that it occurred in the vicinity of six to 10 hours prior to the SWAT team’s arrival into the home,” Hunter said.
 
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