Man Allegedly Causes Crash with Kentucky State Trooper Then Shoots, Killing the Officer

Kentucky Trooper Shot
Photo: Kentucky State Police

A suspect who allegedly killed a Kentucky State Police trooper was himself killed after he refused to put down his weapon. On the night of September 13 Kentucky State Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was in a high speed case when the suspect–25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks–is alleged to have purposely slammed on his brakes. This caused Ponder’s cruiser to crash into Johnson-Shanks’ vehicle, after which Johnson-Shanks opened fire, hitting the trooper with multiple shots.

Shanks was later shot during an attempt to arrest him Monday morning, according to a Fox News report.

According to News Channel 5, Trooper Ponder pulled Johnson-Shanks over on I-24 near mile marker 58 “around 10:20 p.m.” Johnson-Shanks took off during the stop, leading to a high speed chase. Somewhere near mile marker 49 Johnson-Shanks “abruptly” stopped, causing Ponder’s cruiser to slam into the fleeing car.

Johnson-Shanks then opened fire on Ponder–striking him multiple times–and fled the scene on foot. Ponder was pronounced dead at 11:30 pm.

Kentucky State Police shut down I-24 in both directions between mile markers 45 and 54 to search for Johnson-Shanks, who was captured “in a small wooded area near some homes” Monday morning. NBC News reports Lyon County Executive Wade White said Johnson-Shanks “was taken away from the [wooded area] in an ambulance…[and he] did not know the suspect’s condition.”

He was found by police around 7 a.m. After refusing several orders to drop his handgun, he was shot and later died at a local hospital from his injuries. Kentucky State Police Sergeant Mike Webb did not say if Shanks said anything prior to being shot.

Webb said Shanks actions gave “the state trooper closest to him no choice but to fire his agency-issued weapon, striking him multiple times.”

The capture of Shanks followed an all-night manhunt that closed down a large section of Interstate 24 in the area.

Joseph Cameron Ponder was 31-years old. He became a State Trooper in January 2015. He was a U.S. Navy veteran.

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