DEVELOPING – Kentucky State Police have captured the suspected gunman who shot and killed a trooper late Sunday night, according to a county official’s Facebook post.
“It’s over. Suspect in custody. Wade,” the post read. “Wade” refers to Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White.
A statement released early Monday said that Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was pronounced dead at a Princeton, Ky., hospital after being shot multiple times. Ponder had been a state trooper since January of this year.
The statement said that Ponder was conducting a traffic stop on the westbound side of Interstate 24 in the western part of the state at about 10:20 p.m. local time. The statement said that the driver who was being stopped took off from the scene, with Ponder pursuing him for approximately nine miles.
At that point, according to the statement, the suspect’s car abruptly stopped, causing Ponder to crash his car into the vehicle. Police say the driver, identified as 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, of Missouri, got out of the car and started shooting at Ponder, hitting him multiple times. Bullets also struck the hood and windshield of the police cruiser, authorities said.
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Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder and suspect Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks. (Kentucky State Police)
Authorities say Johnson-Shanks fled the scene on foot and was considered armed and dangerous. He’s described as a black man, standing approximately 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing.
Interstate 24 was shut down in both directions early Monday to assist in the search.
“Pray for our guys that are out here,” White told reporters, according to KVFS.
Ponder, from Rineyville, was a U.S. Navy veteran who was stationed at the police post in Mayfield after graduating from the academy, KVFS reported. He reportedly had plans to move closer to home within the next year.
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