Hopkinsville, KY – A Hopkinsville police officer was shot in the head while pursing an armed robbery suspect early Monday morning.
One suspect is in custody, and a manhunt is underway for at least two other suspects, Hopkinsville Police Chief Clayton Sumner said during a press conference later on Monday morning.
The incident began at approximately 1 a.m., when two masked men robbed a woman at gunpoint outside the Walmart store on Clinic Drive, Chief Sumner explained.
One of the attackers struck the woman’s friend in the face, then took off in the woman’s Chevrolet Tahoe.
The second suspect drove off in a dark-colored Dodge Ram pickup, she said.
About an hour later, Officer Jeremy Davidson spotted the Dodge Ram, and tried to pull it over near the intersection of Sanderson Drive and North Drive.
The suspect sped away, leading police on a brief pursuit.
At the same time, other officers located stolen Tahoe approximately a block away from where Officer Davidson began pursuing the first suspect vehicle, the chief explained.
“Two separate car chases [broke] out at the same time,” he said.
Police were able to disable the Dodge Ram using spike strips.
Just 10 seconds later, before Officer Davidson had even exited his patrol car, the suspect opened fire.
“The occupant in the vehicle opened fire on Officer Davidson and his cruiser, striking him once in the head region and once in the arm," Chief Sumner told reporters. "At that time, the officer was out of commission in the pursuit, and the pursuit ended."
He was rushed to Jennie Stuart Medical Center by a fellow law enforcement officer, and was subsequently transported to Skyline Medical Center, Chief Sumner said.
He has since been listed in stable condition.
Meanwhile, officers pursued the Tahoe into Montgomery County, where they lost sight of the vehicle.
The Tahoe was later recovered, but no one was inside it when it was found, Chief Sumner said.
A short while later, police were notified that a Ford SUV had been stolen from the Hopkinsville Waffle House, the Leaf Chronicle reported.
Montgomery County deputies spotted the stolen Ford near Zinc Plant Road at approximately 8:54 a.m., but the driver refused to pull over.
Deputies were able to slow the fleeing vehicle by deploying another set of spike strips, then stopped the driver altogether using a pursuit intervention technique (PIT) maneuver.
The driver, 28-year-old Keith Allen Kuzyk, was arrested for felony evading.
He was transported to a local hospital by ambulance, where he was medically cleared.
Kuzyk has since been booked into the Montgomery County Jail.
Christian County Sheriff’s spokesperson Chris Miller refused to confirm whether or not Kuzyk is considered to be a suspect in the shooting of Officer Davidson.
"We're still trying to figure out who the people were, from the beginning at the Walmart robbery,” Chief Sumner said during the press conference. "Right now, we're spread out because we have several different scenes.”
Multiple agencies are assisting the Hopkinsville Police Department with the ongoing investigation.
“I do believe everybody is safe right now,” he told reporters. “I don’t believe that there’s somebody out there actively running around wanting to harm someone. This is a case of a coward trying to get away, and cowards do what cowards do. In this case, they shot an officer.”
“The important thing here is the officer is good,” he added. “He was in good condition, he was smiling the best he could.”
Chief Sumner estimated Officer Davidson has been with the department for the past three to four years.
On Monday evening, the Montgomery County Sheriff's Office confirmed that Kuzyk was one of the suspects involved in the Walmart armed robbery.
According to the Leaf Chronicle, Kuzyk also shot at law enforcement officers back during a pursuit back in 2011.
That chase began after Kuzyk allegedly shoplifted from a Dollar General store, then drove off in a GMC Sonoma as police arrived.
Montgomery County Deputy Geoff Blanchard chased after the suspect as he drove recklessly down Vernon Creek Road.
Kuzyk then drew a Mossburg International 702 Plinkster, and fired at least 20 rounds at Deputy Blanchard before losing control of the GMC on a curve in the road.
He was ejected as the vehicle rolled, and was left with severe injuries.
Kuzyk later pleaded guilty to charges of evading arrest and aggravated assault.
He was sentenced to a total of six years in prison between the concurrent sentences, but only had to serve 30 percent of that time in prison, the Leaf Chronicle reported.
Kuzyk was also charged with first-degree murder and aggravated robbery in connection with the 2011 shooting of 27-year-old Douglas Ramey.
Kuzyk and another gunman allegedly stole narcotics and other items from Ramey, then shot him to death with a .25-caliber handgun.
In exchange for his testimony as a state witness, Kuzyk was allowed to plead guilty to a lesser offense of facilitation of criminally negligent homicide - a misdemeanor.
He was sentenced to just less than one year in jail, and the other charges against him were dismissed.
Kuzyk was also a fugitive from another state at the time of Monday's shooting, the Leaf Chronicle reported.