Suspect in Ky. trooper’s death caught, shot dead in Lyon County

LYON COUNTY, Ky. – A Kentucky State Trooper was shot and killed late Sunday night just south of Eddyville, Kentucky, and his shooter is reportedly dead too.

(Photo: WKRN)
(Photo: WKRN)

According to police, 31-year-old Trooper Joseph Ponder conducted a traffic stop just before 10:30 p.m. on Interstate 24 west, near mile marker 58, just south of Cadiz Road exit.

After speaking with Trooper Ponder, the driver fled but stopped quickly causing Trooper Ponder to rear-end the vehicle, police said.

Joseph Ponder, 31 (Courtesy: Kentucky State Police)
Joseph Ponder, 31 (Courtesy: Kentucky State Police)

The driver then leaned out of the car window and reportedly started firing shots at the police cruiser, hitting the hood, windshield and Trooper Ponder, multiple times. He was transported to Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton where he died just after 11:30 p.m.

The suspect, who ran away on foot, was identified as Joseph Johnson Shanks, 25, of Missouri. Troopers at the scene say he was taken into custody around 7:30 a.m. when they saw him holding a firearm and instructed him to drop it. When he refused, a Special Response Team trooper shot Johnson-Shanks. He was transported to Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton, KY where he died at 8:23 a.m.

Joseph Johnson-Shanks, 25 (Courtesy: Kentucky State Police)
Joseph Johnson-Shanks, 25 (Courtesy: Kentucky State Police)

Interstate 24 between the 45 and 56 mile marker in Lyon and Caldwell Counties will remain closed until noon as that section is considered part of the crime scene.

A detour has been established for drivers on State Route 93, between State Route 293 Eddyville-Princeton exit interchange and State Route 193 Cadiz-Princeton exit interchange.

Trooper Ponder was a U.S. Navy veteran and native of Rineyville, KY. He graduated from the Kentucky State Police Training Academy in January 2015.

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