A Pikeville, Kentucky police officer was fatally shot in the line of duty Tuesday, March 13.
According to a statement released by the Kentucky State Police on their Facebook page, Officer Scotty Hamilton and Trooper Matt Martin, with the Pikeville Police Department, were conducting a criminal patrol in the Hurricane Creek, an area known for high criminal drug activity, on Tuesday night at approximately 11:30 p.m. when they noticed a suspicious vehicle. After speaking to the people in the vehicle, the officers decided to make a quick search around the area and a nearby residence to check for any questionable subjects on foot. While searching the area, Officer Hamilton and Trooper Martin went in different directions and became separated. Not long after, shots were fired near the residence. Trooper Martin was able to locate Officer Hamilton, who had sustained a fatal gunshot wound. Sadly, the Pike County Coroner’s Office pronounced Officer Hamilton dead at the scene.
The gunman was able to flee the scene, and as of now, a suspect has not been named. However, Troopers with the Kentucky State Police Post 9, KSP Special Response Team, and Pikeville P.D. have been actively searching for any and all possible suspects. Along with the detectives with KSP Post 9, Detective Randy Combs with KSP’s Critical Incident Response Team is leading the investigation. According to Fox 11 Eyewitness News, KSP spokesman William Petry said four people were arrested and taken into custody at the scene on unrelated charges.
“They had a presence in the area due to past known incidences of drug trafficking,” Kentucky State Police Post 13 Public Information Officer Jody Sims told reporters during a news conference Wednesday.
On Wednesday, Gov. Matt Bevin took to Twitter to express his condolences.
“Grateful for the men and women who lay their lives on the line to protect ours both at night and by day…Please pray for the community of Pikeville, the local and state police officers involved and the family of the officer who was killed…” he tweeted.
In honor of Officer Hamilton, officers held a procession through Pikeville at around 1 p.m. Wednesday. A candlelight vigil to honor Hamilton and his service to the community will be held at 8 p.m. on Thursday at Billy Johnson Stage at the East Kentucky Exposition Center. The funeral arrangements are still pending.
Anyone with information regarding the shooting of Officer Hamilton is being asked to contact the Kentucky State Police at 606-433-7711 or the Pikeville Police Department at 606-437-5111.
According to Supporting Heroes, Officer Hamilton was a 12-year veteran of the Pikeville Police Department and is survived by his wife and nine-month-old daughter.