BARDSTOWN, Kentucky — Hours before police say a Kentucky man stole a pickup truck and rammed three police cruisers in a Mother's Day chase that ended when he was shot, his family had contacted law enforcement about his mental condition, authorities said Monday.
The 25-year-old suspect was in intensive care at University of Louisville Hospital, a day after he smashed a vehicle into an auto dealership in Bardstown, stole a pickup truck, tried to disarm an officer and left a trail of three demolished squad cars, including one that burst into flames, police said.
Three officers suffered minor injuries.
The suspect, identified as John K. Fenwick of Bardstown, was not armed but used the stolen truck as a weapon, Bardstown Police Chief Rick McCubbin said. Fenwick was shot by a Bardstown police officer and later by a Nelson County sheriff's deputy, McCubbin said.
Charges against Fenwick are pending but had not yet been filed because of his medical condition, Kentucky State Police Trooper Jeff Gregory said. He did not disclose how many times Fenwick was shot, saying it was part of the investigation.
Nelson County Sheriff Ed Mattingly said his office was contacted by Fenwick's family within 24 hours before the chase, claiming that Fenwick was suffering from a mental illness.
"My deputies interviewed him, stated he was coherent, he was calm ... he didn't have any aggression," Mattingly said.
Fenwick told the deputies at the time he was taking his medication and planned to see his psychologist on Monday, the sheriff said. He accused his family of picking on him, he said.
The chase began Sunday morning when Fenwick recklessly turned in front of Bardstown Officer Kyler Wright and then stuck his head out the window and yelled at the officer, McCubbin said.
Fenwick later stopped and as the officer started getting out of his squad car, Fenwick put his truck in reverse, smashed into the car and trapped the officer, McCubbin said.
Wright opened fire and struck Fenwick, but the suspect fled in his truck, McCubbin said.
Fenwick then struck a sheriff's office vehicle, which burst into flames, the chief said. The officer was able to escape the burning vehicle.
Sheriff's Deputy Brian Voils was able to stop the truck. When he tried to get the suspect out of the vehicle at gunpoint, a struggle ensued, McCubbin said. Fenwick tried to disarm Voils and the officer fired and struck him, he said. Fenwick was airlifted to the hospital.
The officers were placed on administrative leave, consistent with the two police agencies' policies. McCubbin and Mattingly defended their officers' action.
"They have done their job and what they were supposed to do and what they were trained to do," Mattingly said.
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