ALLEN, Ky – A third police officer has died following a shooting in a small Eastern Kentucky town on Thursday night.
The fatal shootings of two officers were announced the morning after the incident, but another officer in critical condition was unable to cope with his injuries Friday night, Army Kentucky State Matt Gayheart confirmed.
Jacob Chaffins, a patrol officer with the Prestonsburg Police, died Friday, according to a post on the department’s social media. He was the one who delivered the dog to officer K9 Drago, who was also killed in the gunfight.
Floyd County Sheriff William Petry, a former state trooper, and Prestonsburg Police Captain Ralph Frasure, a 39-year law enforcement veteran, also died.
“It was a small community and we lost not only a few good officers, but also the pillars of the community,” says Gayheart. “It’s going to get the community rallied around to get through it.”
How did it happen?
Four officers were trying to serve a wanted warrant for Lance Storz, 49, at his Main Street home when he opened fire with a rifle, according to his arrest citation.
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About three hours later, Lance Storz, 49, was taken into custody, Gayheart said. He was taken into the Pike County Detention Center around 4:30 a.m. and charged with two counts of murder of a police officer, five counts of attempted murder of a police officer, one count of attempted murder. and one count of first-degree assault. service animals, court records show.
In addition to the three officers and the dog that were killed, four other officers were injured along with an emergency management director.
Two of the officers are in stable condition and one has been treated and released, according to state police. Injured civilians were still being treated at a hospital as of 4 p.m. Friday.
Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said: “They encountered pure hell. “They don’t stand a chance.”
Officers attempted to serve Storz with a subpoena after an emergency order to protect domestic violence against Storz’s wife was issued on Thursday, court records show.
The state police’s critical incident response team is investigating the shooting.
“We’re trying to figure out what led up to the active shooting,” Gayheart said Friday night. Several law enforcement officials remained at the scene of the shooting through the night, with at least two bullets-strewn squad cars being towed away around 7 p.m.
Governor Andy Beshear described the episode as “a barrage situation involving a shooting,” in a brief statement. on Twitter.
The case will be referred to Floyd Circuit Court and could become a capital case.
Before Chaffins battled his wounds, Prestonsburg Mayor Les Stapleton posted on Facebook that he was “just starting his career in law enforcement.” He wrote: His wife and young daughter are in the hospital “grieving” for him.
“The City of Prestonsburg would like to thank everyone for the community’s support and love. We will uphold our employees with the respect they deserve,” Stapleton wrote in the post. post.
Since Thursday’s shooting, there has been a wave of support on social media by the public, police departments and public officials across the state for officers and responders. The first is relevant.
“Please keep the families of these brave officers in your prayers. Our law enforcement displayed unthinkable heroism and sacrifice last night when face evil,” Attorney General Daniel Cameron posted on Facebook Friday.
A procession to bring officers Petry and Frasure home from Frankfort was held Friday night, attended by dozens of ambulances from departments in the area.
More than an hour from Prestonsburg, a flag was hoisted over an overpass with cars, ambulances and fire trucks dotting the intersections along the Mountain Parkway. Families stood at the edge of their driveways, and couples pulled to the curb, waiting to pay their respects.
As the hearse and ambulance carrying the fallen officers neared the city limits, a light mist began to fall and a giant flag mounted on cranes hung over the road.
Associated Press and Courier Journal correspondent Lucas Aulbach contributed.