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Kentucky State Trooper Gunned Down, Suspect Killed After Manhunt

A Kentucky State Trooper is dead after a suspect opened fire on Interstate 24 in Lyon Co.

Just after 11 p.m. eastern time, Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder stopped a suspect on the interstate. That suspect fled when Ponder approached, prompting a pursuit.

The suspect stopped abruptly at the 49 mile marker, causing a collision between the suspect's vehicle and Ponder's cruiser. The suspect then opened fire, shooting Ponder multiple times. Ponder was transported to a Princeton hospital where he died. 

A manhunt for the suspect followed. He was identified as Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, 25, of Missouri. Initial reports indicated that Johnson-Shanks had been captured but a later news release from the State Police said that the suspect had been killed. He was spotted in a wooded area near I-24, armed with a gun that he pointed at troopers who ordered him to drop it. Johnson-Shanks refused and was shot and killed.

Ponder, 31, was a native of Rineyville in Hardin Co. He graduated from KSP Training Academy in January 2015 and was stationed at Post 1 in Mayfield, assigned to Trigg Co.

-Staff report

Photo: Ponder (left) and Johnson-Shanks (right)