LMPD :: Louisville Metro Police Department
Louisville Metro Police Department

Suspect killed in Thursday's shooting was shot by LMPD detective, Chief Conrad says

Courier~Journal - Louisville, Kentucky
Darcy Costello - Courier~Journal
Suspect killed in Thursday's shooting was shot by LMPD detective, Chief Conrad says

Louisville Metro Police officials gave an update on the condition of the detective who was struck in the head with a bullet during a shooting that left another person dead Thursday afternoon in Buechel.

Louisville Metro Police detectives who stopped a truck Thursday as part of an ongoing narcotics investigation were greeted with gunfire that left one officer struck in the face and head.

A second LMPD detective returned fire, killing one of the vehicle's occupants and wounding another, who remains in critical condition at University of Louisville Hospital, police said at a news conference Friday afternoon. Two other occupants were arrested and charged with drug crimes relating to methamphetamine.

The man killed was identified Friday as 32-year-old Alexander W. Simpson. Police confirmed that he was shot by LMPD officer Det. Bradley Woolridge, who has been with the department for nearly 17 years.

No body camera video footage from the incident exists, Conrad said, due to the nature of the narcotics detectives' "plainclothes assignment."

Det. Darrell Hyche, the officer who was shot in the face and head, was "seriously injured" but is expected to survive, Conrad said. He was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.

Hyche, who has been with LMPD since 2007, "has a long road in front of him," Conrad said. "But expectations are that he will, thank God, recover."

Conrad said the department was "blessed" Hyche wasn't injured more seriously.

"We were in a very different place last March," Conrad said Thursday, referring to the death of LMPD Officer Nick Rodman, who was killed last year when his car was hit by a fleeing suspect. "We had an opportunity today to be in that same spot talking to the same doctors and it was a very different message today than what we heard with the Rodman family, and we were blessed."

The white Chevy Silverado pickup that was pulled over in the 200 block of Derby Avenue in Buechel had four occupants: Simpson, who was killed, Billy Ray Riggs Jr., who was wounded, and two others who have since been arrested.

Police did not say which occupant shot Hyche. One weapon was recovered from the vehicle, Public Integrity Unit commander Lt. Aaron Crowell said.

Mark Alan Risner, 41, and Roger Dale Goodman, 37, are charged with trafficking in a controlled substance in the first degree. The charges are due to the "presence of large amount of narcotics within the suspect vehicle at the time of the stop," Crowell said.

He did not provide the quantity of drugs found in the truck. The first-degree charge indicates it involved two or more grams of methamphetamine, per state statute.

Both Risner and Goodman entered not guilty pleas at arraignments Friday and are scheduled for preliminary hearings on Feb. 12.

Crowell said multiple police vehicles were involved in the traffic stop but declined to say whether other agencies took part, citing an ongoing narcotics investigation.

The incident will first be investigated internally by the department's Public Integrity Unit. Evidence in all police shootings is submitted to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office to evaluate if further investigation is needed or if criminal charges will be filed.

An internal Professional Standards Unit investigation to determine if any departmental policies were violated will then follow.

Police policy states deadly force is authorized when officers act in defense of themselves or another and reasonably believe that the subject poses an immediate threat of death or serious physical injury.

Louisville police officers last shot and killed someone in October.

The incident stemmed from a robbery, police have said, and Corey Antonio Boykin Jr., 24 - the suspect who was killed - was armed at the time.

Police played three separate body camera footage clips at a press conference the day after the shooting in October, but declined to answer many other questions, citing an ongoing investigation.

Police have since handed the case over to the Commonwealth's Attorney's Office, who will decide if any charges will be filed.

Hyche is the latest officer to be shot in the line of duty in recent years.

LMPD officer Brad Shouse, a three-year veteran of the department, was shot in the foot last year. The suspect, Dimitri Harris, 24, was taken into custody on an outstanding arrest warrant the next day, but no charges have been filed connected to the shooting.

Before that incident, the last Louisville police officer who was shot in the line of duty was Officer Kyle Carroll, who was shot in the chest after a foot chase in June of 2016.

The suspect in that case, Jacquan Crowley, was arrested in Port Orange, Florida, after police spent nearly a week chasing leads, including a tip that led to SWAT members being in a seven-hour standoff outside a "flop house" on Chestnut Street, Courier Journal previously reported. He's pleaded not guilty.

Since city and county police departments merged in 2003, only one officer before Rodman - Officer Peter Grignon in 2005 - has been killed in the line of duty.

The LMPD personnel file for Woolridge, the officer who shot and killed Simpson, shows numerous commendations: for helping Special Olympic athletes, an outstanding arrest, assistance during trainings, compassion in a detective's "sudden death" and "outstanding assistance with an officer-involved shooting" that was dated 2014.

He received written reprimands a few times in his years with LMPD, for being found at fault in an accident, failure to appear in court on five occasions in 2007 and improperly citing someone for drinking and disorderly conduct in July of 2007.

Hyche, meanwhile, who is recovering from his gunshot wounds, received no reprimands and has more than 20 commendations in his file.

In Friday's press conference, Conrad praised the city's police officers, saying "we should be thankful" for those willing to risk their lives.

"Policing is a dangerous job that often requires a split-second decision that will be judged by others, and scrutinized, for a lifetime," he said. "Despite this level of responsibility and scrutiny, we're blessed in this community to have men and women who are willing to put on the uniform and do this job 24 hours a day, seven days a week."