The Latest: Niece of suspect charged following trooper death

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Posted: Sep 14, 2015 5:32 PM
The Latest: Niece of suspect charged following trooper death

EDDYVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Here is the latest on the fatal shooting of a state trooper in western Kentucky (all times local):

4:10 p.m.

Kentucky State Police have arrested an 18-year-old Missouri woman following a manhunt for a suspect in the death of a state trooper.

Police said Ambrea R.J. Shanks of Florissant, Missouri, was lodged in the Caldwell County Jail on a charge of first-degree hindering prosecution or apprehension. Police said she is a niece of Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, the suspect in the death of Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder on Sunday night in western Kentucky.

Police say the 25-year-old Johnson-Shanks of Missouri was shot by police Monday morning when he refused to drop his weapon.

Another woman and two children in the car were not charged.

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3:05 p.m.

Kentucky State Police say a rural stretch of interstate that was closed down after the fatal shooting of a trooper has been reopened.

A 9-mile stretch of Interstate 24 had been closed while police investigated the death Sunday night of Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder in western Kentucky. Ponder was shot after a traffic stop, and police fatally shot the suspect Monday morning after a massive manhunt in a wooded area close to the interstate.

Flags at the Mayfield state police post where Ponder was stationed were fluttering at half-staff on Monday afternoon.

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1:45 p.m.

Gov. Steve Beshear says the fatal shooting of a Kentucky State Police trooper is a "tragic reminder of the risks that our law enforcement officers face every day."

Authorities say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was fatally shot Sunday night after conducting a traffic stop. The driver fled, and Ponder chased him until the suspect stopped his car abruptly and fired several shots into Ponder's cruiser. The officer died later at a hospital.

Police fatally shot the suspect Monday morning after a massive manhunt in a wooded area close to Interstate 24.

Beshear said people should remember not just how Ponder died, but how he lived: "his selfless service to others, and his willingness to give his life for that commitment."

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11 a.m.

Police say the state trooper fatally shot by a suspect during a traffic stop is the second from the Mayfield post in western Kentucky to be killed in the line of duty this year.

Authorities say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder conducted a traffic stop Sunday night and the driver fled. After a chase, the suspect stopped his car abruptly and fired several shots into Ponder's cruiser. He died later at a hospital.

Police fatally shot the suspect Monday morning after a massive manhunt in a wooded area close to Interstate 24.

Ponder's death comes just three months after 23-year-old Erick K. Chrisman died in a traffic crash while responding to a reckless driving complaint.

Both troopers had graduated from the police academy in January. Trooper Jay Thomas says, "We're all just holding together the best that we can and just continue to do our jobs."

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9:25 a.m.

Police say the man accused of fatally shooting a Kentucky trooper has been shot and killed after an hours-long manhunt.

Trooper Jay Thomas, a state police spokesman, says 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Missouri was shot by police Monday morning when he refused to drop his weapon. He died at a hospital.

Authorities say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night when the driver fled. After a chase, the suspect stopped his car abruptly and fired several shots into Ponder's cruiser. He died later at a hospital.

Police had said Johnson-Shanks fled on foot. Numerous law enforcement agencies had been aiding in the search, using helicopters and dogs in the rural, wooded area.

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6:45 a.m.

Authorities in western Kentucky have closed a 9-mile section of Interstate 24 as they search for a suspect in the fatal shooting of a state trooper.

Authorities say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night when the driver fled. After a chase, the suspect stopped his car abruptly and fired several shots into Ponder's cruiser. He died later at a hospital.

The suspect, who police say fled the scene on foot, has been identified as 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Missouri.

State police say numerous law enforcement agencies, as well as helicopters and dogs are being used to help with search efforts in the rural, wooded area.

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4:18 a.m.

A Kentucky state trooper was killed in a shooting during a chase in western Kentucky and authorities are searching for a suspect.

In a news release, Kentucky State Police say 31-year-old trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night around 10:20 p.m. on Interstate 24 when the driver fled.

The news release says a chase ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly, causing the trooper's vehicle to "make contact" with the rear of the suspect's vehicle.

Authorities say the driver then fired several shots into Ponder's police cruiser, hitting him several times. Ponder was taken to a hospital in Princeton, Kentucky, where he died.

The suspect, who police say fled the scene on foot, has been identified as 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks. He's described as a black male who's about 5 feet, 5 inches tall and weighing about 140 pounds.