A Kentucky police dispatcher confirmed an off-duty officer was shot dead Thursday evening by a man posing as a cop.
The police officer was identified as 38-year-old Philip Meacham. He was off-duty when he was pulled over at around 5:10 p.m. local time (6:10 p.m. EDT) on Paulette court in Hopkinsville by the suspect pretending to be a police officer, daily newspaper Kentucky New Era reported.
Hopkinsville Police Department said the man who was identified as 35-year-old James Kenneth Decoursey later shot the officer. Meacham was taken to Jennie Stuart Medical Center immediately after the incident where he was pronounced dead.
Later, in a Facebook post, Logan County Police Department confirmed Decoursey was shot dead by law enforcement officers in Clarksville, Tennessee.
Reports stated Meacham was the first law enforcement officer killed in Christian County since 1987. According to the official website, Kentucky was a 14-year law enforcement veteran who served at Hopkinsville Police Department as well as Christian County Sheriff’s Office.
Police officials said Decoursey had initially fled after the shooting by stealing a 1997 white Chevrolet pickup truck with a Kentucky license plate number 2070GH.
Clayton Sumner, Hopkinsville police chief, in a news conference Thursday evening spoke about the fatal shooting of his department’s police officer and asked for prayers for Meacham’s family.
“This is new to me. I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know what I’m supposed to say. I just ask for everybody’s support,” Sumner said.
He said he also spoke to Meacham’s wife and appointed mental health professionals to assist local law enforcement officers to help them deal with losing one of their own. “We’re all a family,” he said.
Before Decoursey was shot, public affairs officer for KSP Post 2, Trooper Rob Austin also spoke about the law enforcement efforts in finding Decoursey.
He said then a Special Response Team has been appointed and Tennessee Highway Patrol along with several other area agencies is assisting with the search.
Austin said the details released regarding the case are quite limited because of the sensitivity around the issue and the ongoing investigation. Public was warned then that Decoursey could be armed.
According to the latest report in Fox Nashville, Decoursey was convicted of “manufacturing methamphetamine and possession of methamphetamine, marijuana and drug paraphernalia in 2012 in Christian County” for which he was sentenced to 12 years in prison. However, the date of his release is not clear as the charges against him were non-violent.
Decoursey also has a history of drug-related offenses in Christian, McCreary and Daviess Counties.
As of now, funeral arrangements for Meacham are not released by the police department. A native of Christian County, he is survived by a wife and two school going children.