An Ohio police officer was killed after a gunman who allegedly set out to kill a cop shot him and stole his police cruiser, authorities said.
The Knox County Sheriff’s Office identified the fallen policeman as Officer Thomas Cottrell, who was on patrol when a woman called 911 saying her ex-boyfriend was armed and “looking to kill an officer” about 11:20 p.m. Saturday, officials said.
Dispatchers tried to make contact with Cottrell, who was working in the Danville area at the time as part of a seven-member police department, but were unable to locate him.
His body was found shot to death behind the Danville Municipal Building about 20 minutes later, police said. His service weapon and his police cruiser had been stolen.
Cottrell’s vehicle was found in a nearby wooded area.
Prayers for Ohio's first fallen officer for 2016 a Danville PD Officer was shot/killed this evening in Knox County. pic.twitter.com/s0gW5nKYqS— Chief Jim Gilbert (@CHIEFGILBERT1) January 18, 2016
Police arrested Herschel Ray Jones III, 34, after a foot chase when he was spotted running from a home about 1:30 a.m., police said. .
A woman who was discovered outside the same home was interviewed by police and later released.
Jones is a convicted felon who pleaded guilty in 2011 to receiving stolen property and illegal assembly or possession of chemicals for the manufacture of drugs, authorities said. He was released from prison last April.
Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville told The Washington Post he expects a murder charge to be brought against Jones.
Jones was being held Monday for violating the conditions set when he was released from prison last year, prosecutors said. That will be enough to hold Jones until charges are filed in the death of Cottrell, The Washington Post reported.
The suspect’s brother, John Jones, told NBC4 he spoke to Herschel Jones minutes before he was taken into custody and said his brother had allegedly taken an anti-anxiety drug called Klonopin.
“He was out of his mind on drugs,” Jones told the television station. “He already had done what he done. He still didn’t admit it to me though – that’s how far out of his mind he was. He completely went over the edge.”
John Jones says family members allegedly called Herschel’s parole officer last week to report that he had guns and drugs and was at risk of doing something bad, but the suspect’s brother said nothing was done, NBC4 reported.
On several occasions, Herschel Ray Jones allegedly asked judges to send him to a mental institution rather than to prison, but those requests were denied, John Jones said.
The president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police Jay McDonald called Cottrell's killing an assassination, saying in a written statement: "We ask all Ohioans to pray for peace and healing for Officer Cottrell's family, friends and co-workers."
"His assassination is the latest reminder of how dangerous police work is and how the police are targeted for violence," McDonald said.
An autopsy on Cottrell was reportedly expected for Tuesday. The Knox County Sheriff’s Office and the Bureau of Criminal Investigation are investigating the shooting.