KY trooper shot, killed in Lyon Co. after chase, search for suspect

Kentucky State Trooper Joseph Ponder was shot and killed late Sunday night just south of Eddyville, Kentucky.

This report is from our sister station WKRN in Nashville, Tenn.

LYON COUNTY, Kentucky – A Kentucky State Trooper was shot and killed late Sunday night just south of Eddyville, Kentucky and police are searching for the suspect, causing a stretch of Interstate 24 to be closed into the early hours of Monday.

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

According to police, 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.

The driver then started firing shots at the police cruiser, hitting the hood, windshield and Trooper Ponder, 31, multiple times. He was transported to Caldwell Medical Center in Princeton where he died just after 11:30 p.m.

The suspect ran away on foot and has been identified as Joseph Johnson Shanks, 25, of Missouri. He’s described as a black man, 5 feet 5 inches tall, 140 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. He was last seen wearing dark clothing, police said.

Residents in the area are urged to use caution because Johnson-Shanks is considered armed and dangerous.

The interstate is closed in both directions from Cadiz Road to State Route 293 while officers search for him.

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 native of Rineyville, KY. He graduated from the Kectucky State Police Training Academy in January 2015.

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