Kentucky off-duty officer shot and killed by police impersonator, authorities say
An off-duty police officer died Thursday in southwestern Kentucky after a man impersonating an officer shot him — and hours later police killed the suspect in neighboring Tennessee, authorities said.
Officer Phillip Meacham, 38, was driving his personal vehicle in Hopkinsville when he was pulled over and shot by a man pretending to be an officer Thursday evening, CNN affiliate WSMV in Nashville reported, citing local police.
Meacham was taken to a hospital, but he died from his injuries, said Trooper Rob Austin with the Kentucky State Police.
After an hours-long manhunt, law enforcement shot and killed suspect James K. DeCoursey early Friday outside a hotel in Clarksville, Tennessee, about 30 miles south of Hopkinsville, the Tennessee Bureau of Investigation said.
Police said DeCoursey, 34, had run away after the shooting in Kentucky and then stole a white Chevrolet pickup.
After learning the pickup might have turned up in Clarksville, officers from several agencies converged there and found the vehicle in a restaurant parking lot, the TBI said.
Police then received a call that a man matching DeCoursey’s description was asking for a cigarette at a hotel. Officers were heading to the hotel when two Montgomery County sheriff’s deputies and a US marshal saw the suspect walking back toward the restaurant early Friday, according to the TBI.
“DeCoursey appears to have ignored repeated commands and the situation escalated, resulting in the law enforcement officers firing upon DeCoursey, killing him,” the TBI said in a statement.
The TBI said it was investigating the circumstances of the shooting that killed DeCoursey.
When asked for more details about the police impersonation, state police said only that investigators are still trying to determine how the shooting unfolded.
Meacham had been with the Hopkinsville Police Department since May. Before then, he worked at the Christian County Sheriff’s Department for about 12 years.
He’s survived by his wife and two school-age children, said Austin of the Kentucky State Police.
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin confirmed on Twitter that a police officer in Hopkinsville had died.
“There is no greater sacrifice than that of a person willing to lay down their life for another…Thank God for the Thin Blue Line,” Bevin wrote.