Ky. trooper killed: Kentucky Trooper Killed

Published: September 14, 2015

Ky. trooper killed: Kentucky Trooper Killed, The suspect in the fatal shooting of a Kentucky State Police trooper is dead, police said Monday.

Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, of Missouri, had been wanted after his alleged involvement in a high-speed chase and killing of state Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder.

Trooper Jay Thomas, a state police spokesman, said Johnson-Shanks was shot by police Monday morning when he refused to drop his weapon. He died at a hospital.

Ponder, of Rineyville, Ky., stopped a vehicle on Interstate 24 on Sunday around 11:30 p.m. Eastern, when the driver fled causing a police chase.

The chase ended about 10 miles later after the suspect stopped abruptly causing the trooper’s cruiser to “make contact” with the rear of the suspect’s vehicle, the police said in a statement posted on the police agency’s Facebook page. According to Kentucky State Police, several shots were fired at Ponder’s cruiser striking the car and Ponder multiple times.

Kentucky State Police identified Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, of Missouri, as the suspect in the fatal shooting of Kentucky State Police trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder on Sunday, Sept. 13, 2015. (Photo: Kentucky State Police)

Ponder was taken to a hospital in Princeton, Ky., where he died.

The suspect fled the scene on foot. Numerous law enforcement agencies had been aiding in the search, using helicopters and dogs in the rural, wooded area during the hours-long manhunt.

Authorities had closed a 9-mile section of Interstate 24 as they searched for the suspect.

“Upon making contact with Johnson-Shanks, troopers from our special response team observed him with a firearm and instructed him to relinquish the firearm. Johnson-Shanks refused verbal commands, he aimed the weapon at the troopers, and one of our special response team troopers discharged his agency-issued weapon and struck Johnson-Shanks,” said Thomas.

Ponder had only been on the force less than a year. He graduated from the Kentucky State Police training academy in January. He was assigned to a state police post in Mayfield, Ky.

“He was very proud to be a Kentucky State Trooper,” Thomas said. “He was new, he was eager and just absolutely loved his job.”

Kelly Ponder posted on the Kentucky State Police Facebook, “My brother was the best man in the world and did not deserve what happened to him.” Her Facebook profile indicates she lives in Elizabethtown, Ky.

Kentucky State Police said the shooting and chase happened along I-24 extending from the Eddy Creek area to around Bells Creek.

Kentucky Trooper Killed


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