Kentucky officer shot and killed; suspect dead after police shooting in Tennessee


James K. Decoursey

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HOPKINSVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A man suspected of fatally shooting an off-duty police officer in a small Kentucky city was killed by law enforcement officials in Tennessee, authorities said Friday.

James K. Decoursey, 34, of Hopkinsville, Kentucky, “had a brief encounter with law enforcement” officials in Clarksville, Tennessee, where he “was shot and died from his injuries,” Kentucky State Police Trooper Rob Austin said in a statement. Austin said the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating.

Kentucky State police said Decoursey shot and killed 38-year-old Hopkinsville officer Phillip Meacham Thursday afternoon, then fled on foot then before taking off in a pickup truck.

Meacham, who was married and had two school-age children, had been with the Hopkinsville department since May 2017 and before that worked for about 14 years with the Christian County Sheriff’s Department, Austin said.

Phillip Meacham

Hopkinsville Police Chief Clayton Sumner told reporters Thursday night, “I just want to ask everybody for their thoughts and prayers for the family. Also for the men and women that are out there trying to find this criminal and bring him to justice.” He said mental health professionals and chaplains had been brought in to help Meacham’s co-workers.

He also said he spoke briefly to the slain officer’s widow telling her two things: “We will find him,” and “I’m sorry.”

Gov. Matt Bevin announced the officer’s death on Twitter.

In Frankfort, lawmakers in the House stood for a moment of silence after Rep. Walker Wood Thomas of Hopkinsville announced that an officer had been shot.

Hopkinsville is about 73 miles (117.48 kilometers) northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.

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