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Cecil County man dead, sheriff’s deputy injured after shootout in North East, police say

A 24-year-old man was found dead and a Cecil County sheriff’s deputy was injured after an exchange of gunfire when the deputy and state troopers responded to a father-and-son fight at a Maryland apartment Sunday, police said.

Police said Jonathan Balchunas, 24, had been arguing with his father throughout the day on Sunday, and at one point put a gun to his father’s head and told him that if police came, he would shoot them too, Police Superintendent Col. Jerry Jones said at a news conference Monday. His father dialed the police.

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The troopers were immediately fired on when they entered the apartment, and one trooper returned fire as they retreated to the landing, Jones said.

Balchunas died in the ensuing shootout. Police say his autopsy report will reveal the origin of the fatal shot.

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A special response team cleared the apartment and found the man’s son dead in the kitchen with a 9 mm gun nearby, Jones said. The red dot laser sight on the gun was aimed at the front door, he said.

The wounded deputy was treated at Christiana Hospital in Newark, Delaware for a gunshot wound to the left arm and released, Sheriff Scott Adams said. The trooper who fired at Balchunas is on routine administrative leave and another responding trooper is on administrative duty. The state police homicide and internal affairs units are investigating the incident.

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