A routine traffic stop turns deadly serious when the driver opens fire on the patrol officer and peels out. A manhunt ensues and a couple of days later, an alert law enforcement crew spots the driver and embarks on a harrowing car chase during the height of the summer-tourist season.
The Detective: Detective Chad went to school with Detectives Dan & Dave when they were growing up. In High School, Det. Chad started as an Explorer/Cadet with his local police department. He was hired by The Sheriff’s Office after college and has been in Law Enforcement for 24 yrs. He’s worked in Corrections, Patrol, and has been a detective for 9 years.Read Transcript
[00:00:00] Dan: We have got to stop him, and the other side of this is, if they let Ken go, he’s acting recklessly, he’s trying to kill people, by firing his gun at him. If he gets away, and he comes in contact with the public, people are going to say, “How could the police let him get away?”
Yeardley: [00:00:26] Hi, I’m Yeardley. This is Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:00:29] Hey, there.
Yeardley: [00:00:30] And his identical twin brother, Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:00:33] Hello.
Yeardley: [00:00:34] And this is Small Town Dicks.
Dave: [00:00:38] You will hear detectives from Small Towns around the world discuss their most memorable cases.
Dan: [00:00:43] We cover the intimate details of what went wrong and what went right.
Yeardley: [00:00:46] As these dedicated men and women search for justice and crack the case.
Dan: [00:00:50] Names and certain details have been changed to protect the privacy of the victims and their families.
Dave: [00:00:55] So, please join us and maintaining their anonymity out of respect for what they’ve been through.
Yeardley, Dan, Dave: [00:01:02] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:01:06] Today on Small Town Dicks, we are so lucky to have the usual suspects. We have Detective Dave.
Dave: [00:01:13] Good afternoon.
Yeardley: [00:01:14] Good afternoon. It’s good to see you.
Dave: [00:01:17] It’s pleasure to be here, as always.
Dan: [00:01:19] Thanks for joining us, Dave.
Dave: [00:01:20] Thank you, Daniel.
Yeardley: [00:01:21] (laughs) And we have Detective Dan.
Dan: [00:01:25] I’m here.
Yeardley: [00:01:26] You’re here.
Dan: [00:01:27] As always.
Yeardley: [00:01:28] Okay. All right, then, back it down. Small Town Fam, we are so pleased to welcome back to the podcast, Detective Chad.
Chad: [00:01:37] Hello. Thanks for having me back.
Yeardley: [00:01:38] Thanks for coming back. Chad, you have a really interesting case.
Chad: [00:01:42] Interesting case, yes.
Yeardley: [00:01:43] Why don’t you just start, tell us how this case game to you?
Chad: [00:01:47] Well, this started with a traffic stop that one of our patrol deputies made in one of our contract cities about midnight, I think. He sees a vehicle, looks suspicious, it runs a stop sign. He initiates a traffic stop, he checks out, gives the license plate number to dispatch. As he’s out of his car and walking up, the report comes back from dispatch that the license plates are stolen, which would suggest the car is probably stolen also. So, he stops and at that point, the driver looks out the driver’s side window, looks back at the deputy, puts it in gear and stomped on the gas and takes off. The deputies initiate the pursuit with him, and it’s going on the highway away from town. It’s pretty high speeds, speed is around 90 up to 100 at some points, but there’s no traffic. It’s a summer night, clear roads. That section of the highway is basically flattened straight. So, he stays with the pursuit.
[00:02:43] Other deputies are coming trying to get out there to help him out. And he sees a flash and recognizes that’s a muzzle flash, “This guy is shooting at me.” And this deputy, he recognizes a muzzle flash, he was in the military. He’s seen gunfire coming his way before. So, he backs off, stays with the guy still, but backs off, slowing up, waiting for more deputies to catch up or state police if they’re out in that area. He continues the chase, but way slacked off.
The suspect turns on to a side road, rural country road that eventually turns into a gravel road. The deputy stays with him up to the gravel road, and then like I said, it’s a dry summer night. So, the lead car, the stolen car is kicking up lots of dust. And so, the deputy has to slow down more, he can’t see. When dust gets kicked up like that, it’s kind of like fog and your emergency lights that are ridiculously bright, red and blue lights on our police cars, hit that dust like they hit fog and it reflects back.
Yeardley: [00:03:43] It’s even worse.
Chad: [00:03:44] It’s almost a disservice to you.
Dan: [00:03:45] It amplifies everything.
Dave: [00:03:47] It’s like hitting your brights in the fog. It doesn’t help the situation at all.
Chad: [00:03:51] So, he slacks off some more and then they determined they’re not going to chase this guy anymore. We assume stolen car is not worth the risk.
Yeardley: [00:03:58] Is the deputy in the car by himself?
Chad: [00:04:00] Yes. There’s concern that maybe this guy, he’s already shot, and maybe he’s going to pull over and set up and wait, and like ambush him if he keeps chasing him, because it’s a windy gravel mountain road, so he would have the ability to set up an ambush. So, they disengage the pursuit. They do the right thing.
The deputy goes back, writes his report up. I come to work the next morning, and for whatever reason, my regular partner wasn’t working that day, he took the day off. So, it was just me and my boss working. It was a Friday. And my boss tells me, it’s Detective Carl, tells me, “We’ve got to work on this right now. This is what happened.” He gives me the report. The patrol guys had tried to figure out who the driver was trying to identify this suspect. They just didn’t have enough information. And really, the deputy only got just a flash glimpse of the guy’s head as he looked out the window. So, they’re not able to figure things out.
Dave: [00:04:50] So, the area that’s pursued is west of the biggest town in our county, biggest city in our county and a coastal town, correct?
Chad: [00:04:57] Yeah, it’s between the two. We start crawling to the computer looking for stuff. Well, we had that stolen license plate that he gave on the traffic stop, and we were able to find with the larger city’s department. They had a call for service that had that license plate in the call the day prior to the shooting.
Yeardley: [00:05:15] Two days before this high-speed car chase?
Chad: [00:05:18] Correct. And the call originated from a tire shop in the city, so that’s the only lead we had.
Yeardley: [00:05:24] Does the license plate match the car its attached to?
Chad: [00:05:27] No, the plates were stolen from a different car.
Yeardley: [00:05:29] Oh, and put on this stolen car that was involved in the chase?
Chad: [00:05:33] Yes.
Dave: [00:05:34] Sometimes, these guys, they’ll steal a plate off of a Subaru, and they’ll put it on a Honda. Other times, if they’re smart, they steal it off a Honda Accord, and they put the stolen plate onto a Honda Accord. And that way, the hope is that the car’s already been stolen, but now they’ve got this new plate and maybe the owner of the stolen plate hasn’t reported it yet. So, when you run that plate, it comes back to Honda, doesn’t raise suspicion, and it’s not reported stolen yet.
Yeardley: [00:06:02] That seems like more planning than I would give these car thieves credit for.
Chad: [00:06:06] Lots of crooks do it.
Yeardley: [00:06:07] Okay. Carry on.
Chad: [00:06:09] Yeah. So, we go to the tire shop and talking to those guys, get some info, but gave only a first name.
Yeardley: [00:06:16] What was that name?
Chad: [00:06:17] Ken. He was trying to buy one tire for the stolen car.
Dan: [00:06:22] That was nice of him.
Chad: [00:06:23] I don’t think he had any money. He didn’t actually buy the tire. But they tell us that he walked across the street to the 7-Eleven. We pull video from there and we got his girlfriend’s name. She used her EBT card.
Yeardley: [00:06:34] EBT?
Dan: [00:06:35] Food stamps.
Chad: [00:06:36] Just on a credit card.
Yeardley: [00:06:37] Okay.
Dave: [00:06:38] You run these food stamp cards, and it’s just like running a debit card or an ATM card. You can get the transaction amount, you can get the transaction date and timestamp, and that’s how you can match up, “Okay, at this time this was used at this store,” and now the video shows, “Okay, these are the people we’re looking for.”
Yeardley: [00:06:56] Got it. What’s Ken’s girlfriend’s name?
Chad: [00:06:59] Lindy. We collect the video from 7-Eleven, and get the info we had, go back, verify that Ken is the guy driving that car. And then, we’ve jump on Lindy’s Facebook, find her friends pull his picture up, the guys at tire shop, “Yeah, that’s him. That’s Ken.” Right away, we figured out that Lindy’s address is in a little town between where we’re at and the coast. It’s about 15 or so miles east of the coast, and that Ken also has that address associated to him, now that we know his name. It’s not his residence, but it’s in his record, and they both are on supervision with parole probation.
Yeardley: [00:07:35] What is that?
Chad: [00:07:35] They’ve been convicted of something and part of the process for being released is they have a probation officer.
Yeardley: [00:07:42] Okay. Do you know what they’ve been convicted of?
Chad: [00:07:45] One of the things he was convicted of was a narcotics crime. I don’t recall what Lindy was. Right away, Detective Carl and I are like, “We’ve got to go check this out.” So, we drive over to that little town. On the way there, I just happened to hear on the police radio, that there’s two parole probation officers over there. They share our radio channel with us.
Yeardley: [00:08:04] You mean there are two parole and probation officers at Ken and Lindy’s house as you’re heading there?
Chad: [00:08:09] Yeah. We contact them by radio and meet with them. Well, it turns out they were going to that same address to check on Ken, not because of the shooting, but just doing their monthly or whatever their interval checks for him are.
Dave: [00:08:22] Total coincidence. So, PNP, parole and probation, they’re doing a home visit on Ken.
Chad: [00:08:27] Yeah, they do them all day long. We meet with them. Go over there. Ken and Lindy aren’t there. Speak to some family members, they had been there maybe an hour earlier. We just barely missed them.
Dave: [00:08:40] The family give you an idea about what kind of vehicle they’re in?
Chad: [00:08:44] Yeah, it was the stolen car. They describe it. Ken rattle-canned it black and also use that spray on, do it yourself urethane bedliner stuff.
Yeardley: [00:08:52] Why? What’s that? What is this rattle can?
Chad: [00:08:55] Spray paint. So, he had spray painted this car black. It was blue when it was stolen, we figured that out later. They described the car and it matches the description the deputy gave of the car he chased and it also fit with the tire shop and all that stuff. We’re confident it’s the right deal. But the family doesn’t know where they’re at. They absolutely want us to find him and put him in jail. It’s Lindy’s family, and they don’t like him. We track down Ken’s mom– We track down her address, we never did talk to her. We found her apartment. If she was in there, she didn’t come to the door. So, we’re out of leads.
[00:09:27] Detective Carl and I head back to town to our office, and I put out an officer safety bulletin and send it out to all agencies in our state, because this guy’s obviously dangerous, he’s shooting at the place. That bulletin had his picture, description of the car, just a synopsis of what happened, on a traffic stop, shot at a deputy. So that went out.
Dave: [00:09:47] I remember getting that email from Chad. It went around our department, like, “Oh shit, this guy’s like popping off rounds at cops on traffic stops. Okay.”
Dan: [00:09:55] That’s one of those bulletins that you pay a lot of attention to.
Dave: [00:09:59] It goes on our briefing board, and every shift of patrol that goes out is going to read that before they start their shift.
Dan: [00:10:05] And I’ve got a project for the night. “I’m looking for this car, I’m going to find this car.”
Chad: [00:10:09] Yeah, everybody wants to find it. So, that was a Friday, coincidentally, Saturday and Sunday, the following two days, we had training scheduled over in the little town where Lindy’s mom lived. It was driving training. There’s an old lumber mill over there that has a huge parking lot that we use for driving training. So, there’s probably 15 deputies over there and driving instructors and all that stuff.
Yeardley: [00:10:37] Is that for tactical driving?
Chad: [00:10:39] It ranges everything from just normal driving to emergency driving.
Dave: [00:10:44] Right, we have a backing course, because most police crashes involve backing up. So, we have a backing course where you have to qualify. It’s a cone course where if you hit any cones, you fail, you’ve got to do it again. And it’s pretty intricate, like backing up, pulling into hairpin turns while you’re backing up, parallel parking. It’s all about angles, creating angles, and using your mirrors, all that. Another part of the training would be high-speed lane changes. Say you’re flying, and all of a sudden, there’s debris in the road, or there’s a car that’s stalled or stopped and you have to do a high-speed lane change, you practice that. There’s another course that’s all about driving forward at pursuit or emergency vehicle type speeds, where you have to stay within the cones. It’s basically, show me that you have the ability to drive this car safely at high speeds. And it’s annual maintenance, you have to qualify. If you don’t, you have to keep doing the test.
Yeardley: [00:11:42] Interesting.
Dave: [00:11:43] Or, you go to remedial.
Yeardley: [00:11:44] What’s that?
Dan: [00:11:45] Remedial training, that’s where they pull you off.
Chad: [00:11:48] You get some one-on-one time.
Dan: [00:11:49] You get some one-on-one time with one of the driving instructors, and it’s usually fairly emasculating. “What the hell is wrong with you? Do you know how to drive a car?”
Chad: [00:11:57] “Come on, I drive all day every day.”
Dave: [00:11:58] Right. It’s like when you’re 16 and you have to go back to your friends, they go, “Did you get your license?” And you’re like, “I failed the driver’s test.”
Yeardley: [00:12:04] (laughs)
Dave: [00:12:06] It sucks.
Chad: [00:12:06] This was scheduled out months ahead of this, so it was just coincidental. There’s a bunch of cops in this little town.
Yeardley: [00:12:12] All in one place.
Chad: [00:12:14] Yeah. Altogether, which never happens for us unless we’re training because we’re spread to the four corners of the compass all the time. So, they have training all day, they finish. One of our deputies who’s pretty known for being able to find people, he’s a forest deputy, and he has a pickup, and him and the other forest deputy were the last two coming out of the training to go home. So, they were all getting on the highway. He had made a comment on Friday night before I went home I saw him, I said, “Go find that car.” He says, “I will.” Well, he was right.
They’re pulling out of the area where the training was and he’s got to go get some gas because he ran his truck through the course all day long. So, he heads down, flicks his blinker on a turn. As he’s getting ready to turn into the gas station, the car passes going the other way on the highway.
Yeardley: [00:12:57] The stolen car.
Chad: [00:12:58] The stolen car. Guy in it driving, female in the passenger seat.
Yeardley: [00:13:02] No way!
Yeardley: [00:13:17] That’s crazy. What are the odds that Ken is driving in his stolen car and just happens to pass this forest deputy when everyone is finishing up training? That’s just– I don’t know. That seems like the universe.
Chad: [00:13:32] Right. His partner’s in a pickup, just like he is, right behind him.
Yeardley: [00:13:37] The forest deputy’s partner?
Chad: [00:13:38] Yes. Although his truck wasn’t driven on the course all day, so it had a full tank of gas. Before they even get their trucks turned around, the stolen car is like upwards of 90 plus, 100 miles an hour, getting away. He recognized who he passed.
Meanwhile, a whole string of other deputies that were ahead of those guys had turned the corner to head back to the valley and didn’t see all this. Just by luck, they were the last two out of the gate that they were the ones that saw him. The pursuit goes, and it’s headed west towards the coast and it’s high speed. Ken’s driving, crazy driving. There’s a waystation there on the highway where they weigh log trucks and stuff that are paved on the side of the road. Ken takes the waystation and passes a stack of cars, and then cuts him back off.
Dan: [00:14:19] Super aggressive.
Chad: [00:14:20] Very.
Dan: [00:14:20] And dangerous.
Chad: [00:14:21] Yes. And then shortly after that, Ken stomps on the brakes and does a U-turn. And now, he’s going eastbound on the highway, the pickups have their emergency lights on. But there’s still cars on the shoulder, no one’s really sure what’s going on. The two deputies get their trucks turned around. By that point, some of the deputies who had left made that turn to go back to the valley, they’re hearing this, they’re coming back. The pursuing deputies tell them, “We’re going eastbound,” and he takes a different highway.
Yeardley: [00:14:48] One of the deputies in pursuit takes a different highway?
Chad: [00:14:51] That’s right.
Dave: [00:14:52] One highway keeps going north, another highway goes to the east towards town. The one that goes north skirts through this mountainous area, and it’s narrow. There’s a river to the right. It’s narrow, and it’s rural and it’s all woods.
Chad: [00:15:09] One of the deputies who had heard this and turned around preemptively thought, “I’m going to stop here on this narrow highway in case the suspect comes back towards me and throw spikes.” The deputy’s got his vehicle off the road, he’s got his spikes out and ready to throw them, and the suspect does go that way. Well, Deputy throws his spikes out, suspect shoots at him, as he’s driving past him, hits the spikes. Tire starts to deflate like they do but he keeps going. Just a short distance pass where he can get the spikes, there’s a gravel road that is horrible, like an unmaintained gravel road that connects back towards the coast. Just before Ken gets to there, he slows down and then Lindy either jumps out or he pushes her out, we never really could clean that up because that one deputy who was there to see it was hiding behind his car because dude’s shooting at him.
[00:16:01] She gets out of the car and he proceeds to drive on the rims down the road a little ways. Lindy jumps up and she’s dancing in the middle of the street, stopping the two pursuing police vehicles. Completely stops one of them and then the other truck’s able to get around her.
Yeardley: [00:16:15] Is it dark?
Chad: [00:16:16] No, it’s middle of the day, like 3:00 in the afternoon.
Dave: [00:16:18] This is a summer day, I remember it clearly. It was blue skies, nice weather, and over in that area, there’s all kinds of tourism. People on dune buggies, people going to the coast. So, it was busy. It was a high traffic day that day, and now you’ve got Lindy, it gives you some insight into what was going on in the car. She gets out of the car and she’s running interference for Ken so Ken can get away.
Chad: [00:16:44] Right. While all this is happening, it’s a weekend, I’m on a day off, I’m just pulling into my driveway, and my phone rings and it’s my boss, it’s Detective Carl. He’s like, “Hey, they’re chasing Ken again over at the coast and he’s shooting at us again. If you want to go, you’re authorized to go to work.” “Hell yeah, I want to go.” Our car doesn’t even stop in the driveway. I’m out the door running in the house, grab my equipment, jump in my work truck. I’m off. Boom, going.
Dan: [00:17:07] When you get this call, you’re how far away? How many miles away are you?
Chad: [00:17:11] 55 probably.
Dan: [00:17:13] It gives you an idea of how spread out they are.
Yeardley: [00:17:16] Right, I see. So, you’re a solid hour from this pursuit?
Dan: [00:17:20] No, 50 miles.
Dave: [00:17:21] It’s better to call out the distance than the time.
Yeardley: [00:17:25] Fair enough, okay.
Chad: [00:17:26] I got there pretty quick. I got going, I was one of my radio and I’m listening. At this horrible gravel road, Ken parks across the highway there in that car because there’s no tires left, he hit the spikes and all that. And there’s a gentleman who had just private party sale bought a used pickup further up the highway. So, the pickup truck’s coming south, coming towards Ken. Ken carjacks that pickup truck at gunpoint. The gentleman stops, because he doesn’t know what’s going on. And next thing you know, he’s got this guy with a pistol pointed at him. “Get out the truck.” Ken steals this guy’s brand-new used pickup and goes up that horrible gravel road.
[00:18:03] By that point, one of the deputies had gotten around Lindy who was trying to stop them. The road cuts back at an angle on the highway, and the deputy looks up and Ken’s got the pistol pointed out the driver’s window. The deputy’s scrunched down in his car and trying to get off the road, because he thinks this guy’s in a shootout. He’s already been shooting at multiple cops now. Ken doesn’t shoot for whatever reason at that point. The pursuit continues up this gravel road. I can’t even describe how tight these switchbacks are on this gravel road. I went back and re-drove it after the fact because I wasn’t familiar with this road very well. It’s super steep, super heavy washboard gravel road. You’re just shaking the whole time. And the switchbacks are like 180 degrees switchbacks, they’re full back on themselves and it’s narrow. It’s straight drop on one side, and trees on the other side. Ken is flying up and down that road. The deputy much like the previous deputy who had to slack off because he couldn’t see, same issue.
Yeardley: [00:18:58] Because of too much gravel dust?
Chad: [00:19:00] Yeah, they lose him eventually. They follow the road, and the one pickup truck that needed gas, the patrol truck, it really needed gas. So, he has to stop. He jumps in his partner’s truck with him, so there ends up being two of them in one vehicle, which is not normally how we run patrol vehicles. We just don’t have enough people. They wind up in the same truck. That gravel road connects to a paved county road, and they don’t know which way he went.
Yeardley: [00:19:26] So, Ken has successfully given them the slip?
Chad: [00:19:28] Yes. By this time, a ton of other of those guys that were training have showed up and getting the area and they’re just driving on these roads. There’s this rural country roads and a 911 call comes in. It’s somebody saying a guy just showed up in this white truck, let himself into my house pointed a gun at me and demanded my car keys.
Yeardley: [00:19:50] What? Walked into the guy’s house.
Chad: [00:19:53] The guy was there with just him, and I believe, it was his wife. There was just only two of them there. He gives Ken the keys to what turns out to be the most armored up car you can buy. A Subaru Outback made out of armor-rated steel, I think. That’s the second car Ken steals that day in this pursuit. He leaves, and the victim of that, he doesn’t know which direction he went from there.
Dave: [00:20:16] Right. You’re playing catch-up now. This guy’s committed two armed robberies, you’re waiting for this 911 call to come in. Meanwhile, you’ve got these deputies doing an area search and they might have already passed Ken. Ken’s now in the third vehicle and nobody knew to look for it yet.
Chad: [00:20:30] And you’ve got all these patrol cars just swarming like hornets in this good-sized geographic area, but there’s not a whole lot of roads out there. You might go for miles and not have a turn off of the main road, but they’re out there just driving around. We get the 911 call, and about that time the dispatch airs that information out that Ken’s now in this green Outback, one of the deputies passes him going the opposite way. They get turned around, and one of the deputies catches up behind him and is in pursuit now.
Yeardley: [00:21:01] Are these the two deputies in the truck?
Chad: [00:21:02] No. They catch up later. This is a different guy. The deputy that is the lead car in the pursuit at this point, he was one of the instructors for the driving training. And so, he just has t-shirt, he has his pistol, but doesn’t have his body armor on. He was just going for the day to teach guys how to drive cars fast.
Yeardley: [00:21:18] This seems risky.
Chad: [00:21:20] It is. So, that pursuit continues south on that road that leads to the city on the coast.
Yeardley: [00:21:28] So, is Ken now basically headed back toward Lindy?
Chad: [00:21:31] No, he’s not. She’s actually at that point in an ambulance because she got hurt when she either jumped or was shoved out of the car.
Dave: [00:21:38] Road rash.
Chad: [00:21:40] Yeah, pretty bad, too. She went to the hospital.
Chad: [00:21:55] So, the pursuit’s going, and by this point, the word is out that we’re chasing Ken again. Everyone’s read that bulletin I sent out. The coastal city, they all think it’s just a lone deputy chasing this guy. The city’s calling out extra resources, state police is sending people from the valley. They were further away than I was. And the county to the south of us finds out that we’re chasing him. They got my bulletin, they know who he is, and why we’re looking for him because he’s shooting at people. So, they send three cars up from the nearest patrol office they have to our county. We’ve got multiple agencies trying to coordinate, nobody talking on the same radio channel.
Yeardley: [00:22:36] Why is that?
Dave: [00:22:37] We use different radio channels. County has their own bank of channels. Our agency has our own bank. The county to the south of us is going to have a different bank of channels. They’re not always interoperable.
Chad: [00:22:49] For instance, our radio system that the sheriff’s office has, and Dan and Dave’s city, they’re partners, and we can all talk to each other. Essentially, it’s a multi-agency radio network, but the smaller cities aren’t on that.
Dan: [00:23:02] We have digital radios. Some of these smaller agencies have analog radios.
Chad: [00:23:07] Analog or different digital that doesn’t talk to ours.
Yeardley: [00:23:10] That’s weird.
Chad: [00:23:10] Well, it’s controlled by FCC based on how big your agency is and how far you have to push signals so that they don’t cross over. It’s weird, I don’t get all of it. But some of these small places don’t even have the ability to dial up to our channel.
Dave: [00:23:24] It’ll be where dispatch for a certain agency will be proactive about reaching out. In this case, they’d reach out without even being prompted to. They recognizing our deputy needs help, this is the nearest jurisdiction, they’ll reach out to that other police department say, “Hey, we’ve got one of our guys in a chase, he’s being shot at. They’re headed your direction.” And that gives them the heads-up that they need to be in the area and look for a county unit that’s got its lights on chasing the car.
Chad: [00:23:55] They’ll have the description of the car and all that and directions and stuff. Meanwhile, we still have a deputy chasing Ken, and we have some in-car video of the kind of tail end of this chase because one of the coast city’s officers gets in right behind the deputy that’s leading the chase. Ken stops in the middle of this county road and leans out the window and shoots. The first deputy stops, gets out, shoots back at Ken, and they’re quite a ways away, 35, 40 yards apart. They exchanged gunfire. And then, Ken gets back in his car, puts in drive. The chase is on again.
Yeardley: [00:24:31] So, nobody gets hit?
Chad: [00:24:32] Nobody gets hit. Deputy jumps back in his car. The coastal car that has the video in it is right behind him. Ken stops again. Instead of getting out of the car, he shoots out the back window and you can see the window blow out of the back of the car. Deputy gets out, returns fire. Ken takes off, deputy puts it back in drive. The coastal officer shoots also during that encounter, and they’re hitting the car, just not stopping Ken, clearly. He stops the third time. By that point, another deputy has caught up. So, there’s three cops, and they’re long ways away now. They’re more like 50, 60, 70 yards apart now. They’re not getting close anymore. Nobody’s wanting to do that. So, they’re shooting, they’re hitting the car and everything. Still nobody gets hit. Ken gets back in the car, puts it in drive, takes off again.
Dave: [00:25:16] It’s just a rolling gun battle where you get these volleys of gunfire. The deputies are hitting Ken’s car. Ken is wildly firing, we call it spray and pray basically. And Ken’s marksmanship is not present. He’s not hitting anything.
Chad: [00:25:31] He doesn’t even hit the cars that are chasing him, but he is shooting at them for sure.
Yeardley: [00:25:35] And your deputies, are they shooting to hit Ken, they shooting to hit the tires out?
Dave: [00:25:40] They’re trying to stop the threat. That guy is shooting, what if he makes it into a city? What’s he going to do? He’s already shooting multiple cops, even cops that are just standing on the side of the road. So, this is one of those where you will chase this guy to the end of the earth to get him off the streets.
Dan: [00:25:58] There are a couple factors here for me. Ken can use his car as a weapon. Also, he can use his gun as a weapon. He’s already showed the willingness to carjack people and do a home invasion robbery. And one of the things that we say in law enforcement is, robbery is like a sneeze away from murder.
Yeardley: [00:26:16] Why do you say that?
Dan: [00:26:17] Because when robberies go bad, people die. We have got to stop him. And the other side of this is, if they let Ken go, he’s acting recklessly, he’s trying to kill people by firing his gun at him. If we let him go, if he gets away, and he comes in contact with the public, people are going to say, “How could the police let him get away?” We just can’t he has to be stopped. We spike stripped him. It didn’t stop him. Ken is making all the decisions here. Everybody involved in this would love if Ken just pulled over and surrendered.
Yeardley: [00:26:57] Of course.
Dan: [00:26:58] That’s the best outcome for everybody.
Chad: [00:27:01] Right. After that third volley, he’s back in the car driving again. As they’re getting closer to the main highway, the deputies from the county down south of us are showing up at that intersection trying to figure out where they want to be deployed. One of the city officers, just short of the main highway, set up a position and threw spikes across the road again. As Ken comes barreling through that intersection, he shoots it, that officer, hits the spikes, and I think it took out three of the tires. As he approaches the main highway, he makes a right turn, and Ken is heading into much more densely populated space.
And then, the deputy who had been the lead car for most of the pursuit was a driving instructor. He’s also a pit instructor for stopping cars. He goes up and does a PIT maneuver on the car.
Yeardley: [00:27:47] What’s a PIT maneuver?
Chad: [00:27:48] It’s where you use your car to bump the rear portion of the suspect’s vehicle to cause it to spin out and it’s supposed to make the engine die.
Dave: [00:27:56] Right. It’s Pursuit Intervention Technique. You see it on Los Angeles live police chases where they spin the car, and the force of spinning the car oftentimes will make the engine die in that car and you can stop the pursuit.
Chad: [00:28:10] So, he does the PIT maneuver on Ken. You can see in the video, the car does a full 360, doesn’t die and just keeps driving forward.
Yeardley: [00:28:18] So, Ken takes off again.
Chad: [00:28:19] Yeah.
Dave: [00:28:20] He’s on rims though.
Chad: [00:28:21] Yeah. There’s stacks of cars coming the opposite direction because it’s summer, weekend at the coast, people coming back from their trip or whatever.
Yeardley: [00:28:30] So, regular civilians are coming toward him?
Chad: [00:28:32] Yeah, there’s a ton of cars. The car is going west, the same direction as Ken’s going, are stopped by the responding officers coming down the highway. They’re blocking that off, but there’s not anybody left to stop traffic in the other direction because everyone’s in this thing now. Presumably, they see the emergency lights and there’s just a line of cars stopped on the shoulder of the road. They don’t know what’s going on. The two deputies that were together in the forest patrol pickup truck, that truck has a very big steel grill protector bumper thing on it. He decides we have to stop this car. He actually swings wide and just collides into the car, just T-bone’s it and drives the car sideways and pins it against the jersey barrier on the highway there, so it can’t go anywhere.
Yeardley: [00:29:15] What’s a jersey barrier, is that like a guardrail?
Chad: [00:29:17] In between freeways, the divider, so they get the car stopped because everyone knows we can’t let Ken get into town where he’s way likely to hit somebody– Maybe not the police, but he’s going to hit somebody with this gunfire that he’s just throwing out the windows of the stolen car. As soon as they get him stopped, they get out. Ken’s in there, moving around in this green Outback, but he’s got a pistol. So, there’s a huge volume of fire that goes into this car.
Yeardley: [00:29:41] Oh.
Dave: [00:29:43] Ken no longer presents as a threat. And so, they advance on the car. There’s no more shots coming from Ken. It’s likely he’s either been incapacitated or mortally wounded.
Yeardley: [00:29:54] Okay.
Chad: [00:29:55] Yeah. They approach slowly, determine that he’s deceased, not a threat anymore.
Yeardley: [00:30:01] So, I’d like to play devil’s advocate here for a second. Ken in this rolling gun battle is firing at police, but he doesn’t actually hit any police. Does that factor into your decisions about how to handle this situation ultimately?
Dan: [00:30:20] Ken has demonstrated a willingness to shoot at the police. He’s got a disregard for human life. I think that’s pretty evident in this case. And we’ve been very lucky that he hasn’t hit anyone. Now he’s cornered, he’s pinned up against the jersey barrier. Do we think now that he’s cornered that he’s not going to pick up his gun and start firing at the police? Of course, he is. Unfortunately, for Ken, the police got shots off before he did. But fortunately for the public, this whole thing is now over. Eventually, he’s going to hit someone and if it’s a civilian in this case, and we had an opportunity to stop this, and we didn’t, we’re just damned if we do and we’re damned if we don’t. I’ve seen the photos from this incident. The cars that were oncoming, they’re like right there.
Yeardley: [00:31:11] These are civilians who are coming back from the beach.
Dan: [00:31:14] Where traffic stops, where this whole situation comes to an end. I’ve seen the photos. Civilian cars are right there. It’s a two-lane highway. It’s heavily traveled. I mean it’s 55 miles an hour.
Yeardley: [00:31:27] But there’s no way for those civilians coming back from the beach minding their own business, there’s nowhere for them to go to hide. There’s like not a turn off.
Dan: [00:31:35] No. It ended where it ended, and it ended how it had to end in this situation, unfortunately. None of those officers wanted to take Ken’s life. I guarantee none of these officers woke up on this day of the incident, and said, “I hope I get to fire my weapon at another human being today.”
Yeardley: [00:31:55] Right, because a lot of officers go through their whole career and never fire their weapon.
Dan: [00:32:00] You hope that you never have to shoot your gun on duty. You hope.
Yeardley: [00:32:05] Right.
Chad: [00:32:18] At that point, everything stops. They just got to push pause. I show up probably seconds after that. And then, Detective Dave comes over and a whole bunch of guys from our deadly force investigation team come over. And we worked probably till 5:00 or 6:00 in the morning on it.
Dave: [00:32:35] That was a long one because you’ve got too many different scenes where deputies and officers were using deadly force.
Chad: [00:32:41] Or were the recipient of Ken using deadly force on them.
Dave: [00:32:44] Right. We were spread out all over the place. I remember just little teams going off to different areas of where these shootings were. And that was a big call-out, like we had a bunch of people working. My responsibility was the end of the pursuit, basically where Ken turns on to the main highway and is heading back towards town right before he gets spun by the deputies, 200 yards from that turn to the initiation of the PIT maneuver to where we block off this stretch of highway. You’ve got shell casings, you’ve got pieces of Ken’s vehicle that he’s driving, you’ve got all kinds of evidence. I remember trying to get civilian traffic out of the area and trying to get this lockdown. It’s the only artery into this town. So, we have now effectively shut it down for the next probably 10 hours.
Chad: [00:33:36] On a summer weekend.
Dave: [00:33:37] Yeah, and there’s some workarounds in that part of the city, but it took a while to get those detours all figured out. And Ken, at the end of this police chase, when these deputies in the truck finally pin him up against this concrete barrier, there’s officers out on foot that are within 10 or 15 feet of his car, not knowing if this guy’s just going to hunker down and start pouring rounds out of the car.
Dan: [00:34:02] The risk you have is if he’s able to escape his car, you’ve got this train of cars that are heading your direction that are pulled over on the side of the road. And if Ken start shooting at the deputies who are chasing him, and they return fire and they miss, those bullets are going downrange at these cars, or he’s already demonstrated his willingness to carjack.
Chad: [00:34:21] Yeah, and it was dozens of cars at one point that were stopped there before we can get the logistics of the detour figured out. But it was just mom and dad and their kids going for a day at the coast, or people that had gone out crabbing, or fishing or whatever. And so, it was very apparent that everyone is on the same page that we can’t let Ken get into the city or have access to more people.
Dan: [00:34:39] One of the things we have to weigh when we’re deciding on using force, is what is this person’s offense that they’ve committed and are they a danger to the public if they avoid arrest? So, if they’re able to make it into the general population, are they still going to pose a risk? And obviously, this guy’s checked those boxes.
Dave: [00:34:58] Yeah, it’s ongoing threat. This one is one of those easy ones. After he starts shooting at cops and these carjacking people, the rules of engagement are fairly simple.
Chad: [00:35:07] And like Dave was saying, this is one huge crime scene, but it’s separated out into individual crime scenes spread out over like six and a half miles, I think, and that’s just the part on the road, where they exchanged gunfire. Where he committed the first carjack and shot at the deputy was like 15 miles away from where this ended. We’re spread out everywhere, trying to collect evidence. We find out later that some of the people along the road before we could get there to collect shell casing evidence and stuff, they had gone out and got that for mementos and keepsakes.
Yeardley: [00:35:39] Ah, geez.
Dave: [00:35:40] This is the day I witnessed a cop shootout, souvenirs.
Yeardley: [00:35:44] Dave, when you go to investigate these pockets of crime scenes, what you’re collecting are the shell casings and photographing the actual location and documenting the map basically of this pursuit, is that so?
Dave: [00:36:00] Absolutely. It was just a trail of evidence for 10 to 15 miles. Wherever there was a shooting, our investigation team visited that site, collected evidence, preserved it with photos and scanning that area. That way, we can recreate it. These shootings or deadly force incidents involving police officers, there’s usually a civil complaint component to it where the family of the person who had deadly force used against him. In this case, Ken. Sometimes, families want to sue the police for what they deem is an unreasonable use of force. And this one, Ken is acting like he’s the only person on the road, and he’s just shooting at cops and there’s no civilians around. We have other ones that are gray areas. So, you have to preserve all that because the minute you leave that scene, it’s gone and you can never get it back.
Yeardley: [00:36:50] Right. Did his family at all pursue a suit against the police?
Chad: [00:36:54] They did not.
Yeardley: [00:36:55] Do you know if he was on drugs when he went on this spree?
Chad: [00:36:59] Actually, he was. Lindy tells us later in the interview at the hospital, that not only was Ken shooting at the cops, during the first part of the chase before he was shooting the cops, he was injecting methamphetamine in his arm while driving at pursuit speeds.
Yeardley: [00:37:14] Wow!
Dave: [00:37:14] Right. So, he’s juiced. We get all of that. Again, it’s another investigator getting sent off to the hospital. We need to talk to Lindy and find out what was going on in that car, where they’ve been, what state of mind Ken was in. I remember we sent people off to the hospital to deal with that. We started handling evidence and documenting that crime scene. We did a 3D scan of that crime scene as I recall. And then at some point, my piece of this is an investigator from our neighboring agency, Detective Chris, he and I were tasked with giving a death notification to Ken’s mother. And Ken’s mother lives in this coastal town.
[00:37:54] I had heard information that she was aware that the police were looking for Ken and she had not answered the door when the police were at her door in this most recent visit within a day or so. When I showed up with Detective Chris, she had neighbors. The word of mouth through this city, it’s quick. People are like, “Something big happened,” and news reports started coming out. I think mom knew that it was Ken that was probably involved in that. We broke the news to her sensitively, and she did not seem surprised. She was not hateful towards the police. She understood what Ken had done as far as posing a risk to police officers and the general public. Obviously, she’s just lost her son. She was subdued and upset, but she wasn’t hateful towards us or anything like that. I felt bad for the mom.
Yeardley: [00:38:52] Sure. What about Lindy? What became of Lindy?
Chad: [00:38:56] Ultimately, she wasn’t charged with anything in this case.
Yeardley: [00:38:59] Even though she tried to obstruct your pursuit of Ken?
Chad: [00:39:04] Yeah, there was a significant debate about that. Ultimately, it was kind of a small fish type thing. It wasn’t that big a deal.
Dave: [00:39:12] Has she learned enough from this experience?
Chad: [00:39:14] No. I think she was just recently involved in a child abuse case.
Yeardley: [00:39:19] Oh, dear. Does she have children?
Chad: [00:39:21] Yes. I think she had one with Ken, and then she had other children from prior to Ken. DHS was heavily involved with her children’s life as well. We learned in her interview after the fact that we did in fact miss Lindy and Ken at the house Detective Carl and I went to on Friday by about an hour like we thought, and that they had gone further up the highway into the woods area to an unimproved campground. They were camping and swimming in the river that day and using methamphetamine.
Yeardley: [00:39:52] So, that was the plan? Just to go and have a night of smoking meth and sleeping in the woods?
Chad: [00:40:00] Yep. That’s where they were coming from when they drove past the deputies initially turning into the gas station. They had left the campground and drove down the highway and passed the deputies.
Yeardley: [00:40:09] Ugh. Lindy and Ken just made one bad decision after another that day, didn’t they?
Dan: [00:40:14] So, unfortunately, what all of us have seen, Dave, Chad, and I, and everybody else that’s been on this podcast, what we see is that these people are gripped by addiction, unfortunately, sometimes fall into this cycle, this loop where it’s chase a bag for their next high, experience their high, and then it’s on to, “How do I get my next bag?” It’s really unfortunate that these drugs grab ahold of these people’s lives, and it can change them. Not everybody who goes out and gets high is going to commit crimes. We know that. But sometimes they do. And, unfortunately, us in law enforcement, that’s when we encounter them.
[00:41:01] We don’t encounter them when they’re in their living room just sitting on their couch. We encounter them when they’re out stealing to support their high. We encounter them sometimes when they’re doing robberies. We encounter them when they’re committing violent crimes. That’s just the reality of it. All of us, in law enforcement, we just hope that they get help, or they get to the point in their life where they know they need help.
Yeardley: [00:41:26] Sure. And then, they’re able to get that help?
Dan: [00:41:26] Yeah, we’ve got to make the help available.
Chad: [00:41:31] Right.
Yeardley: [00:41:33] Really, that’s just a story of loss.
Chad: [00:41:35] It’s one of those things like, if I hadn’t been there, or had seen the video or been a part of it, you almost wouldn’t believe it. This is like the stuff that writers in Hollywood put on paper and make movies or TV shows out of, and people think that’s how cop work is. We’ll probably never see something like this again in our area. I can only think of one other incident that was similar to this, but not to this extent, not this drawn out, not this many engagements, will likely not see something like this again, because it’s just so out of the norm.
Dave: [00:42:07] It’s another reminder, these folks who are drug affected, addicted, we hear the argument that drug use is a victimless crime. No, it’s not. They got the bag somehow. Usually, it’s from stealing from a family member or somebody else. They got the drugs. And we’ve seen on this podcast numerous times what people under the influence of methamphetamine do. They lose their minds. Not all of them do, but this guy went on a meth binge and started shooting at the police. And others, we’ve had guys that claimed to have seen demons and they murder their significant other. It’s not a victimless crime. Trust me, it impacts their significant other and then all their families, suspect and victim side both, affects all of them.
Yeardley: [00:42:53] There’s a domino effect.
Dave: [00:42:55] Right.
Yeardley: [00:42:55] Wow. Chad, thank you so much for bringing this to us today.
Chad: [00:43:01] Thank you for having me.
Yeardley: [00:43:02] So interesting.
Dan: [00:43:03] Thank you, Chad.
Dave: [00:43:04] Thanks, Chad.
Dan: [00:43:04] I wish I would have been there for that investigation.
Chad: [00:43:06] You had retired, I think.
Dan: [00:43:08] I had just retired, yeah.
Dave: [00:43:09] Quit.
Yeardley: [00:43:09] [chuckles]
Chad: [00:43:10] I wasn’t going to say it.
Yeardley: [00:43:11] Do you think there’s a reason why I quit, Dave?
Dave: [00:43:12] Ineffective.
Dan: [00:43:13] You.
Dave: [00:43:15] Game got too fast for you?
Yeardley: [00:43:17] Oh, for crying out loud. All right. Knock it off. Brothers. That’s it. I’m pulling it. We’re done. Thank you again, gentlemen.
Dave: [00:43:27] Thank you, sir.
Chad: [00:43:28] Thank you.
Yeardley: [00:43:32] Small Town Dicks is produced by Gary Scott and Yeardley Smith, and coproduced by Detectives Dan and Dave. This episode was edited by Soren Begin, Gary Scott, and me, Yeardley Smith. Our associate producers are Erin Gaynor and the Real Nick Smitty. Our music is composed by John Forest. Our editors extraordinaire are Logan Heftel and Soren Begin. Our books are cooked and cats wrangled by Ben Cornwell.
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