Kentucky State trooper killed in highway shooting

Emergency services personnel on Interstate 24 in Lyon County, Kentucky, after the fatal shooting of a Kentucky State trooper, Sept. 13, 2015. Photo: CBS News

CBS station KFVS reports Kentucky State Police trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was fatally shot late Sunday night on Interstate 24 in Lyon County. KFVS quoted a Lyon County official as saying the suspected shooter remained on the loose and was considered armed and dangerous.

The suspect, who police say fled the scene on foot, has been identified as 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks. He was described as a black male who’s about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds.

The authorities asked residents in the area to remain in their homes with the doors and windows locked and part of I-24 was shut down as a manhunt continued into Monday morning.

Ponder had graduated from the Kentucky State Police training academy in January and was stationed at the state police post in Mayfield, the news release said.

Ponder was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night around 10:20 p.m. on Interstate 24 when the driver fled, Kentucky State Police 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 police cruiser, hitting him several times. Ponder was taken to a hospital in Princeton, Kentucky, where he died shortly before midnight, the release said.

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