Trooper killed in Ky. was Navy veteran, standout athlete

EDDYVILLE, Ky. (WKRN) – The Kentucky State Trooper fatally shot Sunday night was a Navy veteran and standout athlete in high school.

Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was killed after chasing Joseph Johnson-Shanks when he fled a traffic stop.

The suspect was later killed by troopers when he refused to put down his weapon during a brief standoff.

Ponder, who was engaged at the time of his death, was a U.S. Navy veteran and native of Rineyville, Kentucky.

He graduated from North Hardin High School in 2002. While in high school, Ponder played baseball, football and broke track records in the state of Kentucky during his senior year.

The high school’s current football team plans to wear his initials on their helmets this Friday.

News 2 also learned he turned a scholarship from Western Kentucky University in the fall of 2002 so he could sign up for the Navy. He served in Hawaii for a period of time.

Ponder graduated from the Kentucky State Police Training Academy this past January.

His death is the second for Kentucky State Police from the same cadet class of 12. Both troopers were from Rineyville, Kentucky.

Ponder had just put in papers to transfer to his home post in Elizabethtown.

A Facebook page was set up in honor. Click here to view it.

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