Wednesday, November 14, 2001

Deputy killed, 2 others wounded in shootout

The Associated Press

        NICHOLASVILLE, Ky. — A deputy was killed and two others wounded in a shootout while serving a warrant Tuesday. The assailant was killed by the deputies in the exchange of gunfire, police said.

        Jessamine County Sheriff's Deputy Billy Walls, 28, of Nicholasville, was pronounced dead of a gunshot wound at 10:27 a.m. at the University of Kentucky Hospital, according to the Fayette County Coroner's Office.

        Sheriff's Capt. Chuck Morgan, 51, was in critical condition, while Deputy Sammy Brown, 29, was in fair condition at UK hospital.

        Sheriff Joe Walker and Kentucky State Police identified the suspect as Phillip Walker.

        A joint statement by the sheriff and state police said the deputies had gone to the River Road area, an isolated corner of the county, with a warrant for terroristic threatening, a misdemeanor. Mr. Walker fired at the deputies, the statement said, and they returned fire, killing him.

        Mr. Walker's body was taken to the state medical examiner's office in Frankfort for autopsy.

        People in the area said they knew the man as “Todd” Walker, a man in his 70s who was ill with cancer. Authorities gave no explanation for the difference in names.

        Bill Warner, who described himself as a longtime acquaintance of “Todd” Walker, said Mr. Walker was “kind of high-tempered” but had never demonstrated violent tendencies.

        “Todd was a good man. I never did see nothing wrong in him,” Mr. Warner said.

        Paul Martin, a self-employed roofing contractor, said he did not know Mr. Walker but saw him every morning walking along River Road.

        “He didn't look like he was harmful,” Mr. Martin said.

        Mr. Walker lived in a small, dry-docked houseboat near the Kentucky River, which separates Jessamine and Madison counties.

        Deputy Walls had been a deputy in Jessamine County since June 2000, and had previously worked for the department in 1997. He worked a short stint in 1999 at the Wilmore Police Department and put in three years at the Fayette County Sheriff's Department, according to Fayette County Sheriff Kathy Witt. Deputy Brown joined the department one year ago and Capt. Morgan was an 11-year veteran of the Jessamine County Sheriff's Office.

        Deputy Walls worked as a dispatcher with the Fayette department in 1994. While there, he completed the police program at the Criminal Justice Training Center in Richmond in 1997, according to a spokeswoman with the training facility.

        His survivors include a wife and baby girl.

        “Billy was a very energetic young man whose sole career goal in life was to be a peace officer,” Sheriff Witt said. “He was committed to every agency he served, whether it was in Fayette County or in Nicholasville.”


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