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State Trooper Tried To Help Suspect Before Fatal Shooting

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A Kentucky State Police trooper wanted to do a favor for the driver he pulled over late at night. It turned out the man was driving with a suspended license, so the lawman was arranging for lodging for the man and his fellow travelers, including two children, police say.

Those plans soon unraveled, with tragic results.

The driver took off during the Sunday night stop on a rural stretch of interstate.

Police allege that 31-year-old Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder was shot by the suspect a short time later during a second stop in western Kentucky.

The suspect, 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Florissant, Missouri, ran away.

Trooper Jay Thomas said Monday the suspect was found after a massive overnight manhunt in a wooded area about 9 miles from the initial stop. Thomas said Johnson-Shanks drew a weapon at police, ignored commands to drop it, and was shot. He died later at a hospital.

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