A rookie Kentucky state trooper was gunned down while chasing a suspect in Eddyville Sunday night, the Kentucky State Police said.
Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was pronounced dead at the hospital after he was shot late Sunday. The suspect in the shooting, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, of Missouri, was was shot and killed by police Monday morning.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ponder Was Shot to Death After His Car Crashed Into the Suspects’ Vehicle
Trooper Joseph Ponder tried to conduct a traffic stop at about 10:20 p.m. in Eddyville, Kentucky, on Interstate 24, at about the 58 mile marker westbound, state police said.
The vehicle, which police said was driven by Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, fled from the scene about 30 minutes after the stop.
According to police radio recordings, Johnson-Shanks had a suspended license and possibly was wanted on charges in Missouri. He took off while Ponder was waiting for backup.
The chase reached speeds over 100 mph. Ponder chased the suspect to about the 49 mile marker, where Shanks abruptly stopped his car, causing Ponder’s police cruiser to strike it from behind. Shanks then opened fire, shooting the cruiser’s hood and windshield, and striking Ponder multiple times, police said. Shanks then fled from the scene on foot.
An ambulance took Ponder to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead at about 11:40 p.m.
2. The Suspect Was Shot After a Lengthy Manhunt
The suspect, Johnson-Shanks, was fatally shot by troopers Monday morning after a massive manhunt, NBC News reports. He was casught near a small wooded area.
Police said Johnson-Shanks pointed a gun at the officers and refused to drop it, WTVF’s Cuthbert Langley reports.
Read more about Johnson-Shanks at the link below:
3. Ponder Graduated From the Police Academy in January
Trooper Ponder, of Rineyville, graduated from the Kentucky State Police Training Academy in January, the state police said.
He was working out of Post 1, Mayfield, and assigned to Trigg County.
4. His Sister Said He Was ‘the Best Man in the World’
Ponder’s sister, Kelly, posted on the Kentucky State Police Facebook page, saying, “Thank you for all the kind words. My brother was the best man in the world and did not deserve what happened to him. Please pray for us, this was an enormous loss. #Heartbroken.”
5. Ponder Is the 22nd Police Officer Fatally Shot in the Line of Duty This Year
Ponder is the 22nd police officer fatally shot in the line of duty this year in the United States, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.
Police are still hunting for suspects in the shooting of the last officer to be killed, Lieutenant Joe Gliniewicz, of Fox Lake, Illinois, who was shot during a chase on September 1.