HENDERSON, Ky. (WEHT) — Henderson Police have confirmed that a stand-off that lasted several hours early Friday morning ended with the suspect turning the gun on himself.
Henderson Police say John Ellis Smith Jr. allegedly fired multiple shots into a home on Kleymeyer Street around 1:00 a.m. before running from the scene.
“I heard ‘Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam! Blam!’ Automatically I knew it was gunfire,” recalled Lacretea Patmore, who lived near the scene.
“It sounded like it was close, but it was, like, loud, but it was sounding close,” adds Sierra Archuleta, who was in her home with her baby and a friend when the first shots happened.
“He got scared and he jumped over the baby and he was like, running in our room, going ‘What’s going on? What’s going on?’. I just heard gunshots. He woke us up. I went outside,” she said.
Henderson Police categorized that incident as attempted murder. Smith fled, and was later found in an alley behind Lawndale Apartments.
“We’d seen the cops go off, chasing him, that’s when we lost sight and everything went silent for a long time,” says Patmore.
“The police just come up, and we were just trying to make sure everything was O.K.,” adds Archuleta.
HPD said when officers met up with Smith Jr. near Lawndale Apartments, he threatened to turn the gun on himself sparking a stand-off.
The stand-off ended around 5:00 a.m. Both entrances to Lawndale Apartments were blocked off by police for hours as multiple agencies, including Kentucky State Police, investigated.
Henderson Police said officers negotiated with Smith Jr. for hours. Describing the efforts as “ineffective”, in a release HPD said officers used “less-lethal force” and verbal commands.
During those efforts, Henderson Police said Smith Jr. turned the gun on himself. He was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Kentucky State Police are assisting with the investigation.
(This story was originally published on September 27, 2019)