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Suspect in Hermann police killing charged with murder, assault


The suspect in the killing of a Hermann police officer and wounding of another was charged Tuesday with first-degree murder.

Kenneth Lee Simpson, 35, of Steelville, Missouri, was also charged in Gasconade County with two counts of armed criminal action, first-degree assault and illegal gun possession, all felonies. An arraignment hearing is scheduled for 8 a.m. Wednesday at the Gasconade County Courthouse. He is being held without bond at the Crawford County Jail.

Police arrested Simpson on Monday after a standoff that began late Sunday. Hermann Police Sgt. Mason Griffith and Officer Adam Sullentrup tried to arrest him on warrants from other counties at the Casey's when a scuffle ensued and the two policemen were shot, a Missouri State Highway Patrol spokesman said.

Sullentrup, was in critical condition Monday at a St. Louis hospital.

A vigil will be held Tuesday for the Hermann police officer shot and killed late Sunday and he will be laid to rest over the weekend.

Visitation and funeral services will be Sunday at Owensville High School, according to his online obituary.

Griffith was also the police chief in Rosebud.

The City of Rosebud is hosting a vigil at the Red Barn at 7 p.m. Tuesday, according to the Rosebud Area Enrichment Association. Visitation is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday at Owensville High School, with burial following at Immanuel Lutheran Cemetery in Rosebud.

Simpson was taken to the Crawford County Jail to await filing of charges.

A fund has been set up for the officers and their families at Peoples Savings Bank in Hermann.

At around 9 p.m. Sunday, Griffith and Sullentrup arrived to the Casey’s on Highway 19 to investigate an “irate person,” according to the probable cause statement. Officers believed Simpson had warrants and discovered he had six felony warrants from Warren County and one misdemeanor warrant from Franklin County.

Griffith allegedly called out to Simpson by calling him “Kenny.” Simpsons allegedly ignored him and Griffith asked for an ID, which he claimed he didn’t have and argued with both officers. Simpson allegedly said his name was “Justin” and then “Kevin.”

Sullentrup went back to his vehicle and got a cellphone with Simpson’s picture, showed Simpson and held the phone next to his face. Simpson denied his identity, according to the statement. Griffith took out his handcuffs and told Simpson he was under arrest.

Simpson allegedly started backing away, turned from the officers and pulled out a gun from his right side and shot both cops, according to the probable cause statement. Video footage allegedly shows that  both officers did not have their guns out when they attempted to arrest Simpson, the statement says.

After Simpson shot several rounds, Griffith shot back and Simpson allegedly ran around the store while shooting at the cop, the probable cause statement says. He ran out the store through the front door.

Griffith was pronounced dead at the Hermann Area District hospital before midnight. Sullentrup was brought to a St. Louis-area hospital.

After Simpson was arrested Monday, he allegedly told law enforcement in an interview at the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office that he planned to “commit suicide by cop,” the statement says.

He allegedly told law enforcement that he “gave them a chance to shoot him,” when they were going to arrest him, but his reaction turned into a "fight-or-flight" response. He allegedly admitted to shooting the gun and claimed he didn’t intend to kill anyone.

Article Topic Follows: Crime

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Matthew Sanders

Matthew Sanders is the digital content director at ABC 17 News.


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