A Missouri man on the run from law enforcement was taken into custody on Monday after allegedly shooting and killing a police officer and wounding another during a long weekend standoff.
Kenneth Lee Simpson, 35, is accused of one count of murder in the first degree, two counts of armed criminal action, one count of assault on a special victim in the first degree, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm, according to court documents obtained by Columbia, Missouri-based NBC/CW affiliate KOMU.
The charges were filed in Gasconade County and stem from a call about an irate person at the Casey’s General Store around 9 p.m. on Sunday in Hermann, about 80 miles west of St. Louis.
Officers discovered that the suspect had multiple warrants out of the Show-Me State’s Warren and Franklin counties, one of which was identified as a statewide extradition misdemeanor warrant.
“Simpson started backing away from the officers as they approached to make the arrest,” the court document reads. “Simpson turned away from the officers and, with his right hand, pulled a pistol from his right side. Simpson immediately pointed the weapon at the officers and began shooting.”
Detective Sgt. Mason Griffith, 34, and Officer Adam Sullentrup, 31, were shot.
Griffith died at a hospital. Sullentrup was in serious but stable condition, the Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F said in a statement on Monday.
Accolades for the slain officer rolled in via social media across the country and a A GoFundMe page was set up to help Griffith’s family.
“He knew that he wanted to be a police officer from age 12,” his obituary reads. “He joined the Bourbon Police Explorers in 2001 and was also a Boy Scout. He enjoyed hunting, fishing, trapping, kayaking and anything outdoors.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson tweeted.
“Hermann Police Department Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith will never be forgotten, and Missouri will always be grateful,” he said. “Teresa and I are praying for Mason’s family, friends, and fellow law enforcement officers.”
The New York Police Department Tweeted.
“We stand with the Hermann Police Department as they mourn the loss of Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith, who was shot and killed while responding to a disturbance call,” the agency said. “Our deepest condolences to his family, friends & co-workers.”
Tthe St. Louis County Police Department tweeted, “He will never be forgotten.
“Our hearts go out to the family and friends of Hermann Missouri Police Department Det. Sgt. Mason Griffith who was killed in the line of duty last night.”
After the shooting, a standoff ensued. During the standoff, a police robot removed the front screen door, a drone entered the residence, and tear gas was fired inside. Nearly 14 hours later, Simpson surrendered. He has a criminal record dating to 2004, Fox News reported. He is alleged to have been on the since 2022. Court documents allege that Simpson intended to die in a “suicide by cop” at the convenience store, KOMU reported.
A videographer for St. Louis-based NBC affiliate KSDK caught the dramatic apprehension of the suspect on video:
SUSPECT IN CUSTODY —
Video shot by @tonychambers shows 35-year-old Kenneth Lee Simpson being arrested at 2 p.m. today, after a 16-hour standoff with police.
Simpson is accused of shooting two police officers last night. @ksdknews pic.twitter.com/6eyASi60H6
— Mercedes Mackay (@MercedesMackay_) March 13, 2023
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