Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder

Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder

Kentucky State Police, Kentucky

End of Watch Sunday, September 13, 2015

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Joseph Cameron Ponder

Trooper Cameron Ponder was shot and killed after conducting a vehicle stop on I-24, near Lamasco, at approximately 10:20 pm.

Trooper Ponder was on patrol when he observed a vehicle commit a traffic violation. The vehicle fled during the stop, leading Trooper Ponder on a nine-mile pursuit. During the chase, the driver abruptly stopped his vehicle, causing Trooper Ponder to crash into it. The man then exited his vehicle and opened fire, killing Trooper Ponder.

The subject fled the scene on foot but located in a wooded area several hours later by members of the Kentucky State Police SRT. He was shot and killed when he pointed his weapon at the officers.

Trooper Ponder was a U.S. Navy veteran and had served with the Kentucky State Police for nine months. He was assigned to the Mayfield Station. He is survived by his fiancee, parents, three siblings, and grandparents.


  • Age 31
  • Tour 9 months
  • Badge 954
  • Military Veteran

Incident Details

  • Cause Gunfire
  • Weapon Gun; Unknown type
  • Offender Shot and killed

Pursuit, traffic stop

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Posted on Fox 17. September 9th 2019

Kentucky State Police to honor slain Trooper killed in senseless murder

LYON COUNTY, KY.--Kentucky State Police will hold a wreath laying ceremony on Friday in memory of Trooper Joseph Ponder, who was killed by a suspect following a vehicle chase in 2015.

Just nine months into his career, Trooper Ponder was conducting the stop on I-24 near mile marker 49 when suspect Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks of Missouri opened fire into Ponder's cruiser, striking the trooper multiple times.

Johnson-Shanks then fled the scene on foot and was hiding in the woods when the Special Response Team found him. KSP at the time stated Johnson-Shanks refused to drop his weapon and was killed by the officers.

KSP said Trooper Ponder had originally stopped Johnson-Shanks for driving on a suspended license and did not intend on arresting the man and was even arranging for a hotel for Johnson-Shanks and his passengers. However, Johnson-Shanks fled in the vehicle, leading to the chase and shooting.

On Friday at 4 p.m., KSP will lay a wreath in memory of Trooper Ponder at the flag pole on I-24 West near mile marker 49 where Ponder was shot.

I-24 in Lyon County between the Caldwell County line and KY Route 293 has been designated as Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder Memorial Highway.

Retired Police Officer

September 9, 2019

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