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Law & the Courts

Kentucky Trooper Shot Dead; Killer Reportedly a Ferguson Protester

The Washington Post reports:

The man accused of fatally shooting a rookie Kentucky State Police trooper Sunday night has been shot and killed, according to authorities.

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Michael Webb told The Washington Post that Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25 — who was armed — was captured around 7 a.m. Monday, about eight hours after he allegedly shot and killed Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder during a car chase in western Kentucky.

Troopers gave Johnson-Shanks commands to drop his weapon; when he refused and aimed his weapon at them, Webb said, one of the troopers — later identified as a member of the State Police Special Response Team — “engaged” Johnson-Shanks and shot him.

Johnson-Shanks was transported to a nearby medical facility, where he died from his injuries, Webb said.

Ponder, the 31-year-old trooper, died hours earlier following a traffic stop, which turned into a police chase.

Johnson-Shanks appears to be behind the Facebook profile “Jay MileHigh.” The user posted photos from the Ferguson protests and from Michael Brown’s funeral, and the profile’s cover photo shows Michael Brown alongside Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X.

According to online records, Johnson-Shanks had been arrested twice: in January 2014, for destruction of property; and in August 2014, for interfering with a police officer. Johnson-Shanks’s listed address is in Florissant, Mo., next door to Ferguson, and the date of his arrest — August 11 — coincides with the riots that broke out following the shooting death of Michael Brown; “interfering with a police officer” was a common charge during the protests.

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