Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder, 31, was conducting a traffic stop Sunday night around 10:20 p.m. on Interstate 24 when the driver fled, Kentucky State Police said in a news release. (Courtesy: Kentucky State Police)
A memorial service was held in Ashland, KY for troopers who could not make the drive to western Kentucky for Ponder's funeral.
Joseph Ponder, the Kentucky State Trooper shot and killed in the line of duty earlier this week was laid to rest Friday, Sept. 18 in Elizabethtown.
Ponder was conducting a traffic stop on Sept. 13 on Interstate 24 when the he was stopping took off. A chase ensued with the suspect stopping abruptly, causing the trooper's vehicle to "make contact" with the rear of the suspect's vehicle. The driver then fired several shots into Ponder's police cruiser, hitting him several times. Ponder was taken to a hospital, where he died.
The suspect, 25-year-old Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks, of Missouri, was found hours later in a rural wooded area. He was shot and killed by officers after refusing to drop his weapon.
Law enforcement officers from eastern Kentucky who could not make the long drive gathered in Ashland to remember a fallen brother.
The memorial to honor Ponder began at the same time as their comrade's funeral was to begin.
For some, the occasion was a grim reminder of what can happen while on the job.
"Always in the back of your mind, something that will remind you that it can happen and put you on alert status," said Major Todd Kelley with the Ashland Police Department. "Makes you understand how important your job is in this community."
Trooper Ponder, a Navy Combat Veteran, leaves behind a fiancée and extended family. He was 31.
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