A Scott County deputy was in critical but stable condition Wednesday after he was shot in the back in a confrontation at a rest area that killed a fugitive wanted in a Florida bank robbery, according to police.
Jamie Morales, a two-year veteran of the Scott County Sheriff’s Department, was in the intensive care unit at University of Kentucky Chandler Hospital after Tuesday night’s shooting, according to Sheriff Tony Hampton.
About 10:15 p.m. at a rest area off Interstate 75 northbound in Scott County, Scott County deputies and Georgetown police officers were assisting U.S. Marshals apprehend a 57-year-old Edward Reynolds of Florida, according to state police.
The Georgetown/Scott County Special Response Team initiated contact with Reynolds and shots were fired, state police said.
Reynolds diedat the scene, according to the Scott County coroner.
The Sarasota County (Fla.) Sheriff’s Office said it obtained an arrest warrant for Reynolds Tuesday relating to a bank robbery in July. Reynolds allegedly showed a handgun at a BB&T bank and fled on foot after obtaining cash. The Punta Gorda Police Department in Florida said Reynolds was also tied to several other bank robberies in other jurisdictions.
At UK Hospital, Morales had his second surgery Wednesday afternoon, Hampton said.
“He has been an outstanding deputy,” Hampton said of Morales, who is 28. “When we hired him, he came in very professional ... his service to our country in the Marine Corps. He is bi-lingual, certified for our courts to interpret and he just carries a lot of qualifications you want to see in a deputy sheriff.”
The sheriff’s department is in shock, Hampton said. In Hampton’s 24 years with the department, there has not been an officer-involved shooting like Tuesday’s, he said.
Deputies are posted at the hospital with Morales’ family, according to the sheriff. Hampton visited Morales in the hospital Wednesday but would not say if his deputy was awake.
“I told him I loved him and that we all loved him and that we would be with him and he would get through this, that we would all pull together and help him get through it,” Hampton said.
Mike Cervasi, a Scott County resident who lives near the rest area, said he and his fiancé, Christy Tucker, were in their house when they heard multiple guns fired at the same time, lasting for a few seconds, just after 11 p.m.
When Cervasi began listening to the police scanner, he said he heard “officers in panic asking for EMS stat.”
The state police critical incident response team and Post 12 detectives were handling the investigation.
Georgetown Assistant Police Chief Robert Swanigan told the Georgetown News-Graphic his department’s thoughts and prayers are with the deputy.
“We are family,” Swanigan said. “We work with these guys every day. Our thoughts and prayers are with him, his family and friends.”
Several high-ranking officials, including Gov. Matt Bevin and Attorney General Andy Beshear, sent their own thoughts and prayers through Twitter to the deputy.
Hampton said the support the sheriff’s department has received has been overwhelming.