Two West Memphis police officers were shot and killed Thursday during a traffic stop along an interstate highway. The local sheriff and his chief deputy were wounded in a later shootout that left a pair of suspects dead.
Officer Bill Evans stopped a white mini-van with Ohio plates along I-40 — a common drug trafficking route — and called for his backup, Sgt. Brandon Paudert. Within minutes, reports indicate Evans had been wrestled to the ground by one of the suspects and gunfire from a “long gun” and a handgun targeted both policemen.
At 11:50 a.m. CDT Thursday a call rang out, “Officer down.” Paudert was pronounced dead at the scene. Evans died at a nearby hospital.
The suspects were tracked down to a nearby Walmart parking lot. The suspects shot first and injured two officers. A game and wildlife officer rammed the suspects’ minivan with a truck and the suspects were then shot and killed by police.
The suspects have been identified by friends and relatives as Jerry Kane, 45, and his 16-year-old son Joseph Kane. They were from Springfield, Ohio, near Cincinnati, but according to family had recently relocated to Florida to live with Kane’s new wife Donna Lee.
Reports are out that the van was registered to House of God’s Prayer, a church in New Vienna, Ohio, which was once home to a white supremacy movement.
The older Kane was possibly also involved in mortgage rescue scams.