Suspect in deadly shooting of Hopkinsville officer killed - WSMV News 4

Suspect in deadly shooting of Hopkinsville officer killed by police

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Phillip Meacham was shot and killed on Thursday, March 29. (Photo: Hopkinsville Police Department) Phillip Meacham was shot and killed on Thursday, March 29. (Photo: Hopkinsville Police Department)
James Kennith Decoursey is suspected of shooting a Hopkinsville police officer on Thursday. (Facebook) James Kennith Decoursey is suspected of shooting a Hopkinsville police officer on Thursday. (Facebook)
A makeshift memorial has been set up outside the police department. (WSMV) A makeshift memorial has been set up outside the police department. (WSMV)
Hopkinsville officer Phillip Meacham was killed at this location on Paulette Court. (WSMV) Hopkinsville officer Phillip Meacham was killed at this location on Paulette Court. (WSMV)
Flowers have been placed on the officer's patrol car. (WSMV) Flowers have been placed on the officer's patrol car. (WSMV)
HOPKINSVILLE, KY (WSMV) -

Hopkinsville dispatchers, family friends and sources told News4 Officer Phillip Meacham was in his car with his family when he heard a call for help from another officer and responded.

Kentucky State Police said Meacham was pulled over by the suspect impersonating an officer. Sources told News4 the suspect was in a vehicle with blue lights.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Clayton Sumner said Thursday night Meacham was helping an officer at the time he was shot.

The funeral service for Meacham will be held on Wednesday at 11 a.m. in the gymnasium at Christian County High School. Burial will follow at the New Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery. Visitation will be held on Tuesday from 3-8 p.m. at the high school.

The man accused of killing an off-duty Hopkinsville police officer was shot and killed during an encounter with law enforcement officers early Friday morning.

According to the TBI, James Kennith Decoursey refused to obey commands from officers, which is when the situation escalated and the officers opened fire on Wilma Rudolph Boulevard in Clarksville just after midnight.

"Decoursey appears to have ignored repeated commands and the situation escalated, resulting in the law enforcement officers firing upon Decoursey, killing him," said the TBI in a statement.

According to Kentucky State Police, Decoursey was impersonating a police officer when he pulled over Meacham at 5:10 p.m. Thursday on Paulette Court in Hopkinsville, KY. During the incident, 38-year-old Meacham was shot and killed.

Limited details have been released by Kentucky State Police about the shooting and the events leading up to it.


WATCH NOW: Full video of TBI news conference about suspect's death

WEB EXTRA: Interactive map showing key locations in the investigation

WATCH NOW: Full video of KSP discussing Hopkinsville officer's death

SLIDESHOW: Death of a Kentucky police officer 

MEMORIAL FUND: How to donate to the officer's memorial fund 


HOW POLICE TRACKED THE SUSPECT

After the shooting, Decoursey reportedly fled the scene and stole a white Chevrolet pickup truck.

Authorities issued a "be on the lookout" or "BOLO" for Decoursey and his stolen vehicle and received information that he was in the Clarksville area.

Officers found the stolen truck in the parking lot of the Cracker Barrel at Exit 4 off Interstate 24. Around that same time, police got a call from the hotel across the street that a man matching Decoursey's description was there trying to bum a cigarette.

TBI spokesman Josh DeVine said he believes it was a hotel employee who spotted Decoursey and called the police.

"When this information came out saying be on the lookout for this individual, you better believe that there were a lot of people that were looking, a lot of people keeping their eyes peeled. There were a lot of people wondering with our close proximity to Hopkinsville if he would wind up here," DeVine said.

The officers then encountered Decoursey as he was crossing Wilma Rudolph Boulevard, which is when shots were fired.

According to the TBI, two Montgomery County deputies and a U.S. Marshal opened fire on Decoursey. None of the officers were injured in the incident. Their names have not been released by authorities.

DeVine said he is not sure how many shots were fired during the altercation.

"We're working to determine the specific set of events that transpired between the point at which law enforcement recognized him as Decoursey to the point at which he ignored their repeated verbal commands and the shooting," DeVine said.

According to the TBI, investigators found a weapon near Decoursey's body. The agency would not reveal what kind of weapon was found.

Several people witnessed the shooting, and the TBI will be interviewing them to get more information.

DeVine said they are still working to determine why Decoursey was in Clarksville.

The TBI joined the investigation into the shooting of Decoursey at the request of 19th District Attorney General John Carney. The agency will hand over their findings to the district attorney general, who will decide on the legality of the officers' actions.

MORE ABOUT THE SUSPECT

Kentucky State Police said Decoursey, 35, had been on the run since February after escaping from a facility in Louisville, KY. KSP said there was an active warrant for Decoursey's arrest.

He had a history of arrests in Kentucky.

News4 found that Decoursey had charges dating back to a burglary charge in 2002. He was also charged with fraudulent use of credit cards in 2007.

Decoursey was arrested five times for possession of methamphetamine. On one occasion, Decoursey appealed on the basis his home was searched illegally. A judge found the search was justified.

BACKGROUND OF OFFICER MEACHAM

Meacham had worked with the Hopkinsville Police Department since May 2017. He previously worked for 12 years with the Christian County Sheriff's Office.

Meacham leaves behind his wife and 9-year-old daughter.

Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted about the officer's death, saying, "There is no greater sacrifice than that of a person willing to lay down their life for another."

The Associated Press reported the lawmakers in the House stood for a moment of silence after Rep. Walker Wood Thomas of Hopkinsville announced that an officer had been shot.

On Friday afternoon, police officers will be escorting Meacham's body from the Medical Examiner's Office in Madisonville through downtown Hopkinsville to Lamb's Funeral Home on Lafayette Road. The procession will exit the Pennyrile Parkway on to the bypass, to North Main, to Country Club, then Lafayette Road and then to the funeral home. The intersections along this route will be blocked off during this time.

A fund has been set up to raise money for Meacham's family. Click here for more information about how to donate.

The Hopkinsville Police Department has released this statement:

Our hearts are heavy this morning as we mourn the loss of our brother and friend, Officer Phillip Meacham. We have placed his patrol vehicle in front of the Police Department for citizens to bring flowers, cards or anything else they may want to place on it. We will also be holding a candlelight vigil in the days to follow and will let everyone know when this will be. We ask in the meantime that you continue praying for the Meacham family and all those that are hurting from this loss.

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