A man who is suspected of killing a state trooper on Interstate 24 has died after he was shot by police in Kentucky. The suspect, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, was shot after a brief manhunt, according to the Kentucky State Patrol.
It all began last night, when Trooper Cameron Ponder, 31, was shot and killed shortly after he pulled a car over on I-24 around 10:20 p.m. Sunday. The suspect then drove off, setting off a car chase, police say. After a pursuit of some 10 miles, the chase ended, and Ponder was shot to death in his police car.
Investigators in Lyon County, Ky., then sent out an alert for the public to be on the lookout for Johnson-Shanks. And while earlier reports from local officials suggested he had been taken into custody, police now say the suspect died.
The Kentucky State Patrol’s Special Response Team found the armed suspect in a wooded area close to I-24, the agency says.
“Johnson-Shanks refused verbal commands and aimed the weapon at the Troopers. An SRT Trooper discharged his agency issued weapon striking Johnson-Shanks,” police say. “He was transported via ambulance to the Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton, KY for treatment where he later succumbed to his injuries.”
Update at 10:38 a.m. ET: Suspect Killed Near Interstate
Police say that suspect Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, was shot after refusing to drop his gun, in a confrontation with troopers from the Kentucky State Patrol’s Special Response Team. The suspect later died in the hospital.
News that the suspect has died comes after Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White wrote a Facebook update earlier today in which he said the man suspected in Ponder’s death had been arrested. White didn’t mention any injuries in his brief update.
Our original post continues:
The Kentucky State Police say the suspect, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, drove off after initially speaking with Ponder. He then led the trooper on a chase for nearly 10 miles, before braking sharply, causing Ponder’s police car to rear-end the pursued vehicle.
From the police update:
“At this time, 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.”
Multiple law enforcement agencies are assisting with the investigation and search for Johnson-Shanks.
Ponder had graduated from the Kentucky State Police’s training academy in January. A Navy veteran, he was a native of Rineyville, Ky., the agency says.