SALT LAKE CITY (ABC4) — The man fatally shot by a deputy early Thursday morning in Wasatch County was once a decorated military veteran but was later part of a major international news story involving a massacre of Iraqi civilians in 2007.
Donald Ball, 41, died early Thursday morning after being shot by a deputy following a chase, the Wasatch County Sheriff’s Office said. After crashing his car just south of the Wasatch-Summit county line, Ball allegedly approached the deputy with a “large blunt object,” and the officer fired on him. He died at the scene.
The sheriff’s office confirmed Friday the deputy who shot Ball was out of Summit County, where the chase started around 12:30 a.m. near Kamas. The deputy tried to pull him over on a warrant for violating his probation.
In 2019, Ball was convicted of criminal mischief for cutting wires to broadcast towers, including one used by the Summit County Emergency Paging System. Court documents filed in the case depict a man struggling with mental health problems.
For instance, after he was arrested in 2018, Ball told investigators he thought the government used the broadcast towers to “send signals to his head” and track him. He expressed concern about how many veterans die each day “because of the government,” and said he needed to take down President Donald Trump, the documents state.
He was sentenced to probation and to undergo treatment at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center. A note from a doctor filed in court said he was being treated for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and paranoid delusions, among other things.
According to a Thursday statement from Wasatch County, deputies had been searching for Ball for weeks prior to the fatal shooting. Deputies had been seeking to issue him an eviction order somewhere other than his home over concerns of potential conflict and harm.
After serving in the Marine Corps, including three tours in Iraq, Ball was working for Blackwater Worldwide in 2007 when he and four other contractors were accused of shooting and killing more than a dozen Iraqi civilians in Baghdad. A judge dismissed the charges against Ball in 2013, The Associated Press reports.
The shooting that led to his death Thursday is under investigation by a multi-agency critical incident team, led by the Utah Attorney General’s Office.