Monday, September 14, 2015

Updated: KSP Post 1 trooper shot, killed

Trooper Ponder
UPDATE, 4:12 p.m.: During the investigation, KSP Detective Trey Green arrested Ambrea R.J. Shanks, 18, of Florissant, Mo., with first-degree hindering prosecution or apprehension, a felony. Shanks was lodged in Caldwell County Jail. She was a passenger in the vehicle and a niece to Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, the accused killer of Trooper Ponder. In addition, there were three more passengers in the vehicle at the time of the traffic stop. Two passengers are under the age of 6, and there was a 22-year-old female. The juvenile passengers were released to a relative. An autopsy was conducted on Trooper Ponder today in Louisville, and results are pending. An autopsy is scheduled for Johnson-Shanks Tuesday in Madisonville. The investigation is continuing.

UPDATE 12:30 p.m.: The closure along Interstate 24 from the 45- to 56-mile marker in Lyon and Caldwell counties has been extended until about 2 p.m. Investigators are continuing to gather evidence along about a 10-mile section of I-24 from the overnight incident that involved the killing of a Kentucky State Trooper. The detour along Ky. 93 between I-24/Ky. 293 Eddyville-Princeton Exit 45 and the Ky. 139 Cadiz-Princeton Exit 56 remains in place. Motorists traveling this detour are urged to use both caution and patience due to heavy traffic.

UPDATE, 9:30 a.m.The suspect in the killing of Trooper Ponder has died after being shot by troopers in a confrontation. According to a news release from Kentucky State Police, at approximately 7 a.m., troopers located Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks in a wooded area in close proximity to Interstate 24. Upon making contact with Johnson-Shanks, troopers of the Special Response Team (SRT) observed him with a firearm and instructed him to relinquish it, according to the release. Johnson-Shanks reportedly refused verbal commands and aimed the weapon at the troopers. An SRT trooper fired on Johnson-Shanks, striking him at least once. He was transported via ambulance to the Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton for treatment. He succumbed to his injuries at 8:23 a.m.

UPDATE: Area news agencies are reporting that the suspect has been apprehended. WKDZ radio and WPSD TV are both reporting that the suspect was allegedly shot and an air ambulance was dispatched to the scene in the Eddy Creek are.

A large section of interstate in Lyon County is considered part of a crime scene and investigators will be processing the site this morning. Both lanes are closed.

Kentucky State Police are currently seeking a suspect in the shooting death of a trooper.  

On Sunday at approximately 10:20 p.m., Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder conducted a traffic stop on Interstate 24 around the westbound 58-mile marker. After making contact with the driver, the vehicle fled from the stop. A pursuit ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly around the 49-mile marker, causing the front of Trooper Ponder’s police cruiser to make contact with the rear of the suspect vehicle. 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. 

Trooper Ponder was transported via ambulance to the Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton where he succumbed to his injuries at 11:41 p.m. 

Suspect Johnson-Shanks
The suspect has been identified as Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, of Missouri. He is described as a black male approximately 5-5, 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing. If anyone makes contact with the suspect, call 911. He should be considered armed and dangerous. 

Trooper Ponder, 31, was a native of Rineyville, Ky. Upon graduation from the KSP Training Academy in January of this year, he was stationed at Mayfield Post 1 and assigned to Trigg County. 

The investigation is continuing by state police. Multiple agencies are assisting with the investigation.