Suspect in custody after Hermann officers shot, one fatally
Watch a replay of an afternoon news conference in the player above.
HERMANN, Mo. (KMIZ)
Police took a man into custody in Hermann on Monday afternoon, ending a standoff that lasted more than 12 hours after two officers were shot, one fatally, during an armed confrontation at a gas station.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol says Sgt. Mason Griffith, 34, died from his injuries in the encounter that led to the standoff.
According to troopers, another officer is still in critical condition but is stable at a St. Louis hospital. The City of Hermann identified the injured officer as Officer Adam Sullentrup, 31.
A standoff started early Monday with Kenneth Lee Simpson, 35, whom officials believe may be the suspect. Officers were outside a home on Market Street where they believed Simpson was holed up. Simpson is from St. Louis County, the Associated Press reported.
A team filled the house with gas before 2 p.m. and got a man out. The individual was put in handcuffs and walked away. An ABC 17 News reporter said after the initial pops of the gas, there were two bangs inside the house.
Several police agencies including the highway patrol confirmed the arrest. Gasconade County Sheriff Chris Heitman said in a Facebook post that Simpson was arrested using the handcuffs of the officer he allegedly killed.
Simpson is suspected to have shot the two police officers at a Casey's gas station in Hermann and then left the scene, according to MSHP. A trooper said at an afternoon news conference that the officers went to Casey's to arrest Simpson on warrants out of Franklin and Warren counties. A struggle ensued and the officers were shot, the trooper said.
Online court records in Warren County show a long history of criminal charges and convictions involving drugs and weapons for a man named Kenneth Lee Simpson from Eureka, which is located in St. Louis County. The Associated Press reported Simpson was from Eureka.
The most recent was filed last March for drug possession. He has several warrants out for failure to appear in court, including one without bond in Warren County. One of Simpson's pending cases in Warren County included claims that he had materials to make explosive devices. Simpson allegedly told sheriff's deputies that he would make the devices out of canisters, gunpowder and a fuse. Simpson faces two counts of unlawful possession of an illegal weapon, unlawful possession of a gun and drug possession in that case.
A blue alert was issued around 9 p.m. Sunday in Hermann to alert residents of the incident and to be on the lookout for Simpson. The alert was canceled at 2:14 p.m. Monday. A highway patrol spokesman said Simpson surrendered peacefully.
Simpson was at the Crawford County Jail on Monday afternoon, the patrol spokesman said. The Gasconade County prosecutor is working on filing charges.
The Gasconade County R-1 school district also canceled Monday classes.
At least four police officers are also blocking off the road leading to Casey's, and not allowing cars to pass through. An ABC 17 News reporter observed officers searching the cars of those that tried to pass through.
Check back for updates on this developing story.