Neighbor shoots suspected attacker

April 21, 2008 8:06:25 AM PDT
Domestic violence has erupted into murder in rural Delaware County this Sunday. A woman was stabbed by her estranged husband, and a neighbor tried to save her. "All of sudden we here a lot of screaming and yelling... and then I hear the gunshots," said eyewitness Chick DeLucca. Those shots would end the disturbing confrontation.

Bethel Township Police say John Balla approached his estranged wife, Denise, outside her brother's home. While their 11-year-old son watched, John Balla pulled a knife and began stabbing her.

John Balla wasn't done.

A neighbor tried to intervene. Balla allegedly went after him, but he wouldn't back down. The neighbor retrieved a gun... and then fired multiple times.

Delucca tells Action News, "I looked behind the trees and I could see him there pointing a gun at him... hollering to someone, 'I got him he's down. The crazy man is down.' And that's when I ran in the house and called 9-1-1."

While Chick DeLucca grabbed a phone, police say Balla, while suffering a gunshot wound to the shoulder, took his own life.

"He shouted I want someone to kill me ... kill me.' And then he went down on the ground and started stabbing himself," explains Chief David Houser of Bethel Township Police.

After the couple's son called 9-1-1 investigators arrived. Denise Balla lay dead in the driveway. Her estranged husband died at the hospital. Denise's family and police say a wonderful young mother lost her life way too soon.

Police say the neighbor who intervened will not face charges. They believe he acted in self defense and are calling him a Good Samaritan.