EDDYVILLE, Kentucky (AP) — A Kentucky state trooper was killed in a shooting during a chase, and officers shot and killed the suspect when he refused to drop his weapon after an hours-long manhunt, said Monday.
Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, who was 31 and had been on the force less than a year, was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night around 10:20 p.m. on an interstate highway when the driver fled, said in a news release.
A chase ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly, causing the trooper’s vehicle to “make contact” with the rear of the suspect’s vehicle, the news release said.
The driver then fired several shots into Ponder’s cruiser, hitting him several times. Ponder was taken to a hospital, where he died shortly before midnight, the release said.
The suspect, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, ran away and was found hours later in a wooded area, said Trooper Jay Thomas, a state spokesman. Johnson-Shanks refused to drop his weapon and was shot by officers, and he later died at a hospital, Thomas said.
closed a 9-mile (14.48-kilometer) section of the interstate while the search was being conducted.
Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was killed late Sunday after a nine-mile pursuit. The manhunt for suspected gunman Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks continues.
Ponder, 31, who graduated from the Kentucky State Police Training Academy in January, conducted a traffic stop at about 10:20 p.m. Sunday on Interstate 24’s westbound 58 mile marker. The suspect’s vehicle fled from the stop.
“A pursuit ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly around the 49 mile marker, causing the front of Trooper Ponder’s police cruiser to make contact with the rear of the suspect vehicle,” Kentucky State Police said in a statement. “The driver of the suspect vehicle fired several shots into the police cruiser striking the hood, windshield and Trooper Ponder multiple times. The suspect fled the scene on foot.”
There are multiple bullet holes in the windshield of Trooper Ponder’s cruiser. Prayers to his family. pic.twitter.com/77GdOa178z
— Cuthbert Langley (@NC5_CLangley) September 14, 2015
Ponder was taken to the Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton, Ky., where he was declared dead at 11:41 p.m.
The suspect is Johnson-Shanks, a 25-year-old from Missouri.
“He is described as a black male approximately [5 feet 5 inches], 140 pounds, brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing,” Kentucky State Police added. “He should be considered armed and dangerous.”
Authorities were urging the public to contact the police if they see Johnson-Shanks. Ponder’s sister Kelly said she was “heartbroken” over her brother’s killing.
“Thank you for all the kind words. My brother was the best man in the world and did not deserve what happened to him,” Kelly Ponder said in a statement. “Please pray for us. This was an enormous loss.”
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