A man with a long criminal record who'd reportedly planned to target cops was arrested Monday in the shooting death of an Ohio police officer.
Danville Officer Thomas Cottrell was gunned down shortly before midnight behind the Danville Municipal Building, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer said. His service weapon and cruiser were missing. Cottrell's cruiser was later found approximately half a mile from his body.
The suspected gunman, Herschel Ray Jones III, was taken into custody around 1:30 a.m. after he briefly ran from officers. Knox County Prosecutor Chip McConville says he expects Jones to face a murder charge, but it's not clear how soon it would be filed.
Court records show Jones, 32, has multiple convictions dating back to 2001 for breaking and entering, burglary, receiving stolen property and carrying a concealed weapon. In a 2011 case, he pleaded not guilty by reason of insanity before changing his plea to guilty. Ohio prison records show he served nearly four years for the 2011 convictions of receiving stolen property and possession of chemicals for manufacture of drugs. He was released last April.
Shaffer said authorities received a call at approximately 11:20 p.m. from a woman saying police officers in Danville were in danger, and her ex-boyfriend, Jones, had weapons and was looking to kill an officer.
Shaffer said dispatchers tried to make contact with Cottrell, but were unable to do so. That prompted the Knox County Sheriff's Office to search the village.
Franklin County Sheriff Chief Deputy Jim Gilbert confirmed the officer's death on social media.
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
The president of the Ohio Fraternal Order of Police called Cottrell's killing an assassination.
"We ask all Ohioans to pray for peace and healing for Officer Cottrell's family, friends and co-workers," Jay McDonald said in a written statement.
"His assassination is the latest reminder of how dangerous police work is and how the police are targeted for violence," McDonald said.
The village of Danville, which has a population of around 1,000 people, is located 60 miles northeast of Columbus.
Calls to numbers listed to Jones or family members in Knox County rang answered or were not in service Monday. An autopsy on Cottrell was expected for Tuesday.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.