A year after murder, family keeps hope and memories alive

By Lynn R. Parks

Charles Ball describes his son as a "brilliant guy." "He was a great young man," said Ball. "He had a very high IQ. Someone once asked him what his IQ was and he said, 'It's high enough that I can talk to anybody.' And he could talk to anyone. He would go out of his way to help anyone, to teach somebody." Charles David Ball was killed outside his father's Seaford gun shop on Dec. 6, 1999, just a few weeks before his 30th birthday. One year after the murder, Seaford Police have made no arrests. "You never want to go through something like this," said Charles Ball. "Not knowing who did it makes it even worse. To know that someone is out there who killed him, that I might even talk to the person who did it, is very hard." Detective Richard Jamison has been working to solve the murder since it was committed. He said that the Seaford Police Department has interviewed well over 100 potential witnesses and has eliminated up to 20 people as suspects. Crime Solvers and the Nanticoke Sportsmen's Club is offering a reward of just over $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest and indictment in the case. Call (800) TIP-3333 or Jamison at 629-8848. "We all knew David and we would really like to have closure in this case," he said. "We are still following up, we are still conducting interviews." "We will not let it die," added Seaford Police Sgt. Gary Flood. "We are hoping that someone will come forward. All we need is that one phone call." Robbery possible motive According to police, David Ball was working alone in CB's Gun Shop in the Seaford Village Shopping Center the evening he was murdered. He closed up the store sometime after 7 p.m. and walked around behind the building, where his vehicle was parked. Once behind the building, he was shot twice with a 9-millimeter gun, once in the shoulder and once in the head. He died between 7:30 and 7:45 p.m. Jamison said that the police department feels that robbery was the motive for the shooting. Ball was carrying an undetermined amount of money; it was standard, Jamison said, for Ball to carry money out of the store to deposit in the bank. "We feel that theft of guns from the shop may also have been a motive," said Flood. "No entry was gained into the shop, though. Something obviously went wrong."

Flood said that the department is looking for more than one suspect. "We feel that there was more than one person," he said. "The scene evidence leads us to believe that more than one person was involved." Ball's body was discovered by his father, who went to the shop to look for him at around 11:30 p.m. Police said that the suspects had attempted to bind David Ball's hands with plastic ties, the kind that are used to hold cables together. The ties were "partially on his hands" when Ball was discovered, Jamison said. Both Flood and Jamison knew Ball. They said that they are frustrated that the crime has not been solved yet. But Jamison is still hopeful that there will be a resolution. "There is no statute of limitations on murder," he said. "Just because it has been a year doesn't diminish the potential to close the case. I would like it to have been solved the day after the murder. But we are working just as hard on it now as we were then." Parents think of the positive Charles Ball closed his gun shop in April and "got out of" the gun dealing business. Even so, he remains an advocate of gun owner's rights. "The gun didn't kill my son," he said. "The person who killed my son just used it as a tool. They could have used a knife, a baseball bat or could have run over him with a car." David Ball shared a love of guns with his father. A member of the Nanticoke Sportsmen's Club, he was "one of the best pistol shots around," Charles Ball said, and was a gunsmith. He was also a musician, playing the trombone, guitar, bass guitar, organ and upright bass. He and his wife Julie lived in Blades. "He done it all," Charles Ball said. "He might have had a short life, but he had a well-rounded life. He always said that he wanted to know it all and do it all, and he pretty much done it." Ball said that he and his wife, Ann, miss their son terribly. "We have fond memories that can never be taken away," he said. "We try to think of the positive things, the good times we had with him for 29 years." Even so, the pain is sometimes too much. "I was talking to a friend just the other day," said Ball. "And I told him that if he sees an old man driving around in a red pickup truck who is crying, it's me."

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