One Kentucky State Trooper was justified in using deadly force, according to a Pike grand jury, and one stupid suspect is lucky to be alive.

In October of 2020, four troopers were in pursuit of a suspect, according to a Pike grand jury report. The suspect fled from one of the troopers who was conducting a traffic stop. The suspect, while being chased lost control of his vehicle and jumped out of his vehicle and “brandished” a firearm, the report said.

One trooper, Det. Dustin Thompson, was outside his cruiser when the suspect raised the firearm at the trooper. Det. Thompson fired six rounds, hitting the suspect three times. The suspect had injuries to his legs and shoulder. The officers on-scene immediately administered first aid to the suspect who was later transported to the hospital for bullet wounds, according to the report.

The grand jury said that the trooper was justified in using deadly force and proceeded to indict the suspect on multiple charges including fleeing, wanton endangerment and of course possession of a controlled substance.

In the wake of recent national police interactions, you would think this incident would have made national news. But it never did. I would assume that is for a host of reasons.

You would think that criminals would know that when a cop asks you to do something you show respect and do what they say. The courts are there for a reason. The cops are enforcing the law and, in some cases like this one, must go way beyond that to keep the public safe from law-breakers like this suspect.

The suspect should thank God that the cop only hit him with three rounds and that the placement wasn’t in the mass of his body. The suspect should thank God that the other three troopers didn’t unload their magazines into him for, as the report claimed, jumping out of his vehicle and pointing a gun at the cops. Unless the guy was on a suicide mission, if he’s guilty, he’s just plain stupid.   

If the allegations against the suspect are true, Trooper Thompson, in my opinion is a damn hero.  Thompson woke up that day not knowing if he was going to come home. He assisted in a traffic stop and, according to the grand jury’s findings, was FORCED to shoot a creep who pulled a gun on him. Then he had to administer first aid because that’s what they have to do; stop the threat, then administer aid. What an irony.

In a split second, according to the report, he had to make a decision, which was to shoot or be shot at. He made the right decision. With all the training that troopers go through, they never know how they will respond when that time comes, which is why the suspect is probably still alive. Det. Thompson discharged his weapon only six times and the victim lived.

Det. Thompson’s training was so good that he only fired six rounds. Most people would have — justifiably so — unloaded the entire magazine (17 rounds) plus one chambered, 18 total, before stopping.

If the charges are true, the suspect clearly needs helps and should get it before this happens again with results that may not be so favorable to him.

Det. Thompson reacted in compliance with the law, the grand jury found. His training allowed a suspect to live to see another day. I don’t know how he went home that night, I don’t know if he has kids or a wife. But, if he does, I bet he went home and hugged them all hard and for a long time.

I wouldn’t know Det. Thompson if I bumped into him at the store. But, when that happened, I said a quiet prayer for him hoping that he would not suffer any repercussions for doing his job.

Thanks Det. Thompson and I hope you and your brothers and sisters are never placed in that position again. However, we as the public know that you will protect us when we need you. You have our support.

Thanks for reading the Floyd Chronicle and Times.

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