Off-duty Kentucky officer fatally shot, manhunt continues

The manhunt continued Friday for a man suspected of fatally shooting an off-duty police officer in a small Kentucky city, then fleeing in a stolen truck, according to Kentucky State Police.

State police said Thursday night at a news conference that 38-year-old Hopkinsville officer Phillip Meacham was shot that afternoon and was taken to a hospital, where he died.

Trooper Rob Austin identified the suspect as 34-year-old James K. Decoursey of Hopkinsville, who police said fled on foot then took off in a 1997 white Chevrolet pickup truck with license plate 2070GH. Austin said Decoursey may have changed vehicles and should be treated as armed and dangerous. He said a Tennessee Highway Patrol helicopter was aiding in the search, as were multiple other police agencies.

Meacham, who was married and had two school-age children, had been with the Hopkinsville department since May 2017 and before that worked for about 14 years with the Christian County Sheriff's Department, Austin said.

Hopkinsville Police Chief Clayton Sumner told reporters, "I just want to ask everybody for their thoughts and prayers for the family. Also for the men and women that are out there trying to find this criminal and bring him to justice." He said mental health professionals and chaplains had been brought in to help Meacham's co-workers.

He also said he spoke briefly to the slain officer's widow telling her two things: "We will find him," and "I'm sorry."

Gov. Matt Bevin announced the officer's death on Twitter.

In Frankfort, lawmakers in the House stood for a moment of silence after Rep. Walker Wood Thomas of Hopkinsville announced that an officer had been shot.

Hopkinsville is about 73 miles (117.48 kilometers) northwest of Nashville, Tennessee.