Police officers in Danville, Ohio, received a disturbing 911 call late on Sunday night from a woman who claimed her boyfriend was on the hunt, looking to kill a police officer. Twenty minutes later, Officer Thomas Cottrell was found dead behind the Danville Municipal Building.
According to the Huffington Post, Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer released a statement on Monday about the tragic killing, claiming that Thomas Cottrell was found shot to death on the ground without his weapon or police cruiser, leaving investigators to believe he was robbed by the shooter.
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 Knox County Police Department has not verified information about how exactly Officer Thomas Cottrell was killed, but it initially appears to be linked to the 911 call authorities received only 20 minutes before the body was found. A woman claimed that Danville police officers were in mortal danger because her ex-boyfriend was armed with weapons and actively hunting cops. The name she provided was Herschel Ray Jones, who had reportedly "left with weapons and was looking to kill an officer."
Local police did take the 911 call about Jones hunting cops very seriously. Sheriff Shaffer revealed that 911 dispatchers immediately tried to make contact with Danville officers. However, they were unable to connect with Officer Thomas Cottrell. State highway patrol issued a statewide alert, realizing that Cottrell's cruiser had gone missing while he was on duty. This prompted the Knox County Sheriff's Office to search the city, and their worst fears were realized.
Directly following the call, Cottrell was found dead, seemingly hunted and killed by Herschel Ray Jones. According to WCPO, he was found near his hat, which was covered in blood, but his car was nowhere in sight.
The suspect was captured shortly after 1:30 a.m. the night Cottrell was found. He was spotted "running from a residence," chased on foot by other Danville officers, and eventually caught near Danville Park.
At this time, Herschel Ray Jones is only a suspect, and police aren't sure that was hunting cops as his ex-girlfriend claimed. So far, the evidence seems to be lining up against him. According to WRCB, the Knox County Sheriff's Office and B.C.I. are investigating the death.
No details have been released so far revealing whether or not Herschel Ray Jones has been charged with a crime after allegedly hunting cops. Police also did not reveal if Officer Cottrell's weapon or police cruiser were recovered once the suspect was brought into custody.
Danville, Ohio, is located about 60 miles northwest of Columbus. Officer Thomas Cottrell was only one of six police officers working to protect the small village. The town has a population of just above 1,000 residents.
In response to the tweet about the death of Thomas Cottrell, many Twitter users sent in their condolences for the fallen officer and his family.
— Robert Reyes (@RRCosme) January 18, 2016
@CHIEFGILBERT1, my most sincere condolences on the loss of Officer Cottrell. I promise to pray for his family & friends. God Bless you all.
— James (@TheSwabbie) January 18, 2016
@CHIEFGILBERT1 Rest In Peace, Officer Cottrell.
— Tony (@tony_f70) January 18, 2016
How do you think someone should be punished for actively hunting cops for the sole reason of killing them? What do you think would provoke somebody to make that decision? Leave your thoughts in the comments section below.
[Image via the Danville Police Department]