Police alert neighbors during early morning manhunt
The flag outside Kentucky State Police Post 1 in Mayfield at half-staff tonight for Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder.
Kentucky State Police say after Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks shot Ponder, the suspect ran from his car. Police found him in the woods in a small subdivision off of Interstate 24. They say police were checking homes there to see that folks were safe and to warn them of the search in their neighborhood.
Neighbors living in the rural subdivision, Bluegrass Heights, say police knocked on their doors, waking them up early Monday morning.
Some neighbors say they felt in danger. Some say they were on high alert. Richard Soukup said he and his neighbors started calling and checking on each other because police asked them to stay awake and stay alert. He says the troopers were respectful and explained what was happening in their neighborhood.
Soukup says the troopers knocked on his family’s door and shined flashlights into his bedroom at 3:30 a.m. That’s when he and his wife Lynne say their adrenaline kicked in. Soukup says the troopers told him they believed the man accused of killing Ponder was on a neighboring lane with only six houses. The troopers also advised them to stay inside and stay awake through the night.
Soukup says he wanted to protect his home. "We were very nervous, very concerned, very protecting," he said. "And I sat in the family room with a pistol in my lap."
He said he was nervous especially because they believed the man police alerted he and his wife to would have no concern for their lives. "When they said they killed a state trooper, in my mind, a person has a disregard for life, especially killing a policeman," Soukup said.
Following the updates from police Lynne Soukup says they knew the chase was close, but the tension in their home stayed high. While they kept watch for hours, they hoped their neighborhood on the lake would return to normal.
Schools were not affected. That decision was based off a recommendation from Kentucky State Police.