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Court documents: Driver witnessed scuffle in fatal trooper shooting

RICHMOND, Va. -- Suspected cop-killer Travis Ball apparently had a brief physical encounter with Virginia State Police Special Agent Mike Walter before Ball shot the officer in the head at close range in Richmond's Mosby Court on May 26, according to a newly-obtained court document and police sources.

A search warrant affidavit filed in Richmond Circuit Court also identified the previously unnamed driver of the Chevy that Walter and a Richmond Police Officer were investigating moments before the 7:30 p.m. slaying.

The affidavit stated, the driver (who CBS 6 is not identifying because he is a key witness in a likely capital murder case) "was in the driver seat of a Chevrolet sedan on Redd Street in the city of Richmond when he was approached by two police officers.

"A Richmond PD officer approached the driver side and detained (the driver)," the affidavit continued. "A Virginia State police special agent approached the passenger side and made contact with Travis Ball, who was seated in the front passenger seat. The driver observed a scuffle between Ball and the special agent. The driver then noticed a gun in Ball's hand near the agent's head. The driver heard a gunshot and noticed the agent was down. Ball fled from the scene."

A pistol was recovered. Police sources told CBS 6 that it was a pistol Ball had in his possession and it is being traced.

Special Agent Walter's gun was never unholstered, police said, and only the one shot was fired.

Special Agent Michael Walter

Ball exited the car and was acting suspiciously before the brief encounter, we're told.

We briefly spoke with the driver's father by phone Thursday. He said his son is 22, with two children. He said he had never heard the name Travis Ball until this incident and had no idea why his son was with him.

We confirmed Travis Ball had been barred from Mosby Court after a disturbance call there in 2016. He was not a leaseholder and previously assaulted the woman he was staying with there.

Trooper Shooting Suspect Travis Ball

He is one of more than 4,000 people who have been banned from RRHA properties like Mosby Court and the other housing projects, where roughly 7,500 people live, mostly women and children.

Carol Jones-Gilbert, chief operating officer of the Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority (which operates Richmond's housing developments), said someone can be barred for breaking the law or violating other tenant rules.

"When we get notice of an incident on our properties, we check to see are they on our (debarment) list, Jones-Gilbert said. "And most times, they are."

Frequently, she added, both the victims and perpetrators of murders in the city's housing developments are trespassers.

"It does give a negative perception of the community," she said, "when in fact, they're not the ones in the engaging in the activity.

"Everyone that lives in a RRHA community, we have a very stringent screening criteria that we check (them) against," Jones Gilbert added. "But when residents move people in on their own, there's no background check."

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority COO

Richmond Redevelopment and Housing Authority COO Carol Jones-Gilbert

The woman whose apartment Ball was sharing in Mosby Court is in the process of being evicted - pending an appeal, Jones Gilbert said.

That woman and her daughter were among Ball's targets for assault. But allowing someone who has been barred to stay there is a violation of the lease agreement, Jones-Gilbert said.

The slaying has been devastating for residents, she added.

"It takes a toll on our families and their children," she said, "just like it would in any other community."

Travis Ball, 27, has a lengthy criminal history here and in Lancaster County.

He could face the death penalty if charged with and convicted of capital murder.

Special Agent Walter's funeral is scheduled for Saturday in Powhatan County.