A Louisville Metro Police officer who was in critical condition after a fiery crash in west Louisville on Tuesday night has died.
Mayor Greg Fischer and LMPD Chief Steve Conrad said in a joint news conference at University Hospital that the officer, Nick Rodman, died at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday after suffering a severe head injury.
Rodman, who had been with the department for more than three years, was pursuing a suspect around 8 p.m. Tuesday when his cruiser was hit near 26th and Duncan Streets. His cruiser was heavily damaged and caught fire. He had to be extricated from the wreckage before being rushed to University Hospital.
Rodman has a wife and two young children. His father and brother are also LMPD officers.
Fischer called Rodman "a man of compassion and commitment ... and a wonderful public servant."
Conrad said the incident Tuesday started with a calls of shots fired just before 8 p.m. at 26th and Madison Streets. Three more calls came shortly thereafter, including one for an assault.
"If there was something going on, Nick was in the middle of it," Conrad said. "That's the kind of police officer Nick was."
Once on scene, Rodman attempted to join the pursuit of a suspect at the intersection of 26th and Duncan Streets. He had a green light, and as he attempted to turn, his cruiser was hit in what Conrad called a "very violent" collision.
There is no word on the condition of other people involved in the violent crash. But at least one other person was taken by ambulance from the scene.
The suspect in the case is charged with murder.
Dozens of LMPD vehicles were parked outside University Hospital on Wednesday morning as officers kept vigil. Conrad stayed until the early morning hours. He said hundreds of officers stopped to show support.
"Nick died doing what he wanted to do," Conrad said, holding back tears. "He died doing what he was born to do: serving this community.
"We truly, truly lost a good man."
Kentucky Gov. Matt Bevin released a statement Wednesday evening:
"It is with great sadness we learned of the tragic death of LMPD officer, Nick Rodman.
We are heartbroken for his family, his friends, and the Louisville Metro Police Department at the news of this devastating loss. Our thoughts and prayers will be with this community in the days and months ahead.
This is a terrible tragedy, and a painful reminder of the selfless bravery of those who choose to protect and serve us. We are grateful.
Let's bind together as Kentuckians and let the LMPD, as well as all other law enforcement communities, know they have our full support. We must protect those who protect us."
The department is asking the public to keep the officer's family in their thoughts and prayers. A police memorial will be held at the county fallen officers' memorial in Jefferson Square in downtown Louisville at 10 a.m. Thursday.
Funeral arrangement for Rodman are pending.