OWENSBORO, Ky. (WFIE) - Authorities are looking into an officer-involved shooting that officials say ended with a man taking his own life.
According to Kentucky State Police, the preliminary investigation reveals that an Owensboro police officer stopped a man for a traffic violation on the 400 block of Parrish Avenue around 9:45 a.m. on Sunday.
KSP says the license or registration of the car was expired, and the officer then found out that the driver of the car had a warrant out for his arrest. Officials say the officer then asked the man to step outside the vehicle, so the officer could pat down the man and take him into custody.
However, state troopers say the man put the car into drive and attempted to flee. Meanwhile, the officer reached into the car to try and turn the vehicle off. Officials say the officer was dragged a short distance and then a small pursuit happened right afterward.
According to KSP, the man driving the car went down a dead-end road, before leaving the vehicle with a handgun and proceeding to walk down the middle of Walnut Street with the gun pointed at his head. Officials say the man proclaimed he was not going back to jail and threatened to take his own life.
KSP says an OPD officer was making a turn from Parrish Avenue onto Walnut Street, and the police officer’s car became within a close distance to the suicidal man. It was at this point when officials say the man shot himself in the head.
“I was on my way to the store, I see all the police and ambulance, I looked over and I seen a body underneath the white sheets,” neighbor Ronnie Johnson said. “I just feel sorry for his family. I know they’re going through it right now."
Shortly afterward, state troopers say the officer discharged his firearm from the police car. However, investigators told 14 News it’s currently unknown if the man was hit by any of the bullets that were open fired. KSP says they will determine this piece of information while the situation remains under investigation.
“Even though someone does threaten suicide or has a pistol, has some type of weapon that you don’t know what their actions will be, but we don’t want it to involve any one innocent civilian that’s going to be around," KSP Public Affairs Officer Corey King said. “So a lot of these officers will do what they can to contain it and try to negotiate with this person to get a better outcome. Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case.”
Investigators say the man’s age and identity will be released within the next couple of days once the autopsy results come back and the officer’s report is gathered.
The Daviess County Coroner’s Office and the Kentucky Medical Examiner are scheduled to perform the autopsy Monday morning in Louisville.