CLAY CITY – A man who was arrested for driving while under the influence fatally shot a Clay City Police Chief from the back seat of the police cruiser while he was driving.
Randy Lacy, 55, was pronounced dead at the scene where his cruiser veered off the road after he was killed behind the wheel.
Trooper Ralph Lockard, Public Affairs Officer for Morehead, said that Lacy had received a complaint of a man who was driving while under the influence. It is not clear whether the man was under the influence of alcohol or another type of drug.
Lacy was arresting Jamie Barnett, a man with a long criminal record whom Lacy knew well, when the shooting took place. Barnett, 37, was charged with murder, said Lt. Phil Crumpton of the Kentucky State Police.
According to Lockard, about 15 minutes after the suspect was arrested a shot was fired in the vehicle striking Lacy. The chief was driving the cruiser without a partner at the time.
“We don’t know where the gun came from,” said Lockard. “The man was handcuffed and there is a screen that is meant to protect the officers from suspects in the back seat.”
According to Crumpton the man was handcuffed in front of his body
A bystander in the small town of about 1,300 dialed 9-1-1 when they saw the cruiser veer off the road. The suspect then exited the vehicle and was attempting to escape when he was apprehended by state police and the Powell County Sheriff’s Department.
According to Lockard, there was no sign of a struggle in the vehicle.
In most circumstances, officers cuff in the back to restrict mobility, but Greg Adams, a Powell County sheriff's deputy, said Lacy often cuffed people he knew in the front.
"Randy was a good officer," Adams said. "He did trust people a little too much."
Adams, who was one of several officers responding to the shooting, said Lacy kept an extra gun in his cruiser between the front seat and the console. Crumpton would not confirm that.
Lacy was the town's only officer and was regarded as being very tough on the drug problem that plagued the area.
"Everybody's shocked by it. The town sort of went wild today, I think," neighbor Brenda Patrick said. "It's like a blanket of sorrow spread over the neighborhood."
Garland Lacy, the police chief's brother, said he learned about the shooting while listening to a police scanner. He said his brother was so friendly to suspects that he would sometimes stop and buy them snacks or cigarettes before taking them to jail.
"He was respected by all the police officers, and he was even loved by the people he was putting in jail," said Garland Lacy, a court bailiff and chaplain for the sheriff's department.
Barnett was charged with assaulting a police officer in 1994, according to court records. In April, he was charged with driving under the influence, leaving the scene of an accident and disorderly conduct, court records said. Records also show the April 9 drunken driving arrest was his second such offense.
FOXNews.com's Adam Riback and The Associated Press contributed to this article.