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Sunday, August 14, 2022

‘They faced pure hell.’ Sheriff says killer of Kentucky cop opened fire without warning

Bill Estep and Christopher Leach | Lexington Herald-Leader

Prestonsburg, Q. — According to local officials, police who went to a house in a small eastern Kentucky town to investigate an alleged rape came under fire that killed three officers and injured several others.

A local official described the scene as a “battle zone”. Two officers died on Thursday and the third late on Friday night.

On Friday, after the fatal confrontation, Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said it appeared the alleged killer, Lance Storz, was waiting and opened fire on officers without warning.

“He faced pure hell,” Hunt said. “He had no chance.”

Police received a complaint on Thursday that Storz assaulted a woman, held her against her will and raped her. Local officials said the woman had obtained an emergency protection order against Storz and that officers were going to serve it at her home in Allen, a small town a few miles from Prestonsburg.

It set off an hour-long confrontation when Storz opened fire on the officers. Police from several other local, state and federal agencies responded to help, Hunt said.

It was a chaotic, deadly scene. County Attorney Keith Bartley, who was there, said “it was raining bullets.”

He said he could tell from the sound of the shots that the shooter had more than one gun with what looked like high-velocity firearms.

Hunt said an officer had to crawl under his cruiser to avoid a hail of gunfire. A police dog sitting in the back of an officer’s car died.

“If that’s not a war zone, I don’t know what is,” Bartley said.

The police exchanged bullets with the shooter.

Among the officers who died on Thursday evening were William Petrie, a retired state police officer who served as a deputy for the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office, and Ralph Fraser, a captain with the Prestonsburg Police Department.

Officer Jacob Chaffins was seriously injured with Prestonsburg Police. The department announced on Facebook late Friday that he had died.

Police did not reveal the names of the injured officers.

Of the three other injured officers, police said one was discharged after treatment at the hospital and two others were hospitalized in a stable condition.

According to local officials, during the standoff, police attempted to negotiate with Storz.

The family members also started trying to make him surrender.

State police said Storz was eventually taken into custody outside his home.

Police said the woman seeking a protective order against Storz and a child was taken to the shelter.

Storz was initially charged with two counts of murder of a police officer, four counts of attempted murder of a police officer, an additional count of attempted murder involving an emergency management officer who was shot, and one on a service animal. One count of assault was charged. for court records.

That was before the death of Chaffins. That charge will be converted into murder.

Storz appeared in Floyd County District Court Friday morning, where District Judge Eric Hall filed a not-guilty plea on his behalf and set his own bond of $10 million.

His face looked burnt. State police spokesman Trooper Matt Gehart said he did not know whether Storz was injured during the arrest.

Bartley, who became emotional after suing Storz, said more charges were expected to be filed.

“These are people with children and spouses, mothers and fathers,” Bartley said of the officers. “Their world will never be the same.”

Gayhart said the officers who died were dedicated public servants.

“It’s heartbreaking,” he said. “He served his community well.”

Bartley’s office will handle prosecution in the case until it goes to circuit court. The murder of a police officer is a crime punishable by death, but Bartley said it would be up to Commonwealth Attorney Brent Turner to decide whether to pursue the case as a capital offence.

Allen residents said the shooting was horrific.

Robert Anderson said he doesn’t feel safe with bullets flying inside his brick house. He went outside and hid on one side of the house away from the bullets, leaving more walls between him and the shooter.

“I thought we were in Afghanistan or something,” Anderson said.

World Nation News Desk
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