A suspect pretending to be a police officer killed an off-duty cop in Kentucky on Thursday, authorities said.
James Kennith DeCoursey, 34, pulled Hopkinsville police officer Phillip Meacham over while he was in his personal car, police said.
DeCoursey fatally shot Meacham at around 5:10 p.m. and fled the scene on foot before stealing a 1997 white pickup truck, according to police.
Meacham, a 38-year-old married father-of-two, was taken to the Jenny Stuart Medical Center where he died.
Police launched a manhunt for DeCoursey, who was considered “armed and dangerous.”
Hours later, the suspect was killed by law enforcement in Clarksville, Tenn. about 30 miles south of Hopkinsville, according to the Logan County Sheriff’s Office.
Officers found the stolen pickup truck in a restaurant parking lot, and a tipster told police that a man matching DeCoursey’s description was asking for a cigarette at a hotel.
They were en route to the hotel when they spotted the suspect walking toward the restaurant early Friday.
“DeCoursey appears to have ignored repeated commands and the situation escalated, resulting in the law enforcement officers firing upon DeCoursey, killing him,” The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said in a press release.
The Bureau is investigating the circumstances around the shooting.
Tributes poured in for Meacham, who served in the Christian County Sheriff’s Office for 12 years before he joined the Hopkinsville Police Department in May 2017.
He had a wife and two school-age children.
Hopkinsville police chief Clayton Summer said, “I want to ask everyone for their thoughts and prayers for family and for men and women out their trying to find this criminal.”
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted, “Tonight a police officer in Hopkinsville, KY was killed in the line of duty. There is no greater sacrifice than that of a person willing to lay down their life for another.”
With Megan Cerullo
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