A central Kentucky police officer was shot in the head and suffered life-threatening injuries Wednesday morning while searching for a man who tried to mug a woman in the parking lot of a downtown gas station, authorities and witnesses said.
The Richmond police officer was taken to the University of Kentucky Medical Center in Lexington, Kentucky State Police Trooper Robert Purdy said. His name and condition have not been released.
A second officer returned fire and shot the suspect, who was also injured and taken to the hospital, Purdy said.
It began around 7:15 a.m. when a regular customer stopped at the Gulf gas station on Main Street in downtown Richmond, said manager Missi McCoy. The customer was returning to her car in the parking lot when a van pulled up next to her and a man jumped out and tried to grab her purse, McCoy said.
As the woman struggled with the robber, McCoy said, a man walking to work across the street saw what was happening and ran to help.
The robber jumped back into the van and the driver sped away, McCoy said. The woman, though panicked and crying, managed to get the license plate number and called police to report the incident. She said the mugger had threatened her with a gun, McCoy said.
More than three hours later, around 10:30 a.m., the two Richmond police officers investigating the mugging went to an apartment on Ballard Drive, about a mile from the gas station, Purdy said.
Richmond Mayor Jim Barnes said as the officers were trying to serve a search warrant, the person inside shot one officer in the head and the other officer shot the suspect.
Purdy said they were inside the apartment, occupied by several people, when the man opened fire. It remains unclear what led to the shooting or if the shooter was the same person who robbed the woman at the gas station.
Richmond is about 100 miles southeast of Louisville.
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