WKYT | Lexington, Kentucky | News

Investigators: Police Chief Killed With His Own Gun

CLAY CITY, Ky. (AP) - Investigators were trying to determine Thursday how a prisoner was able to grab a police chief's gun and kill him with a point-blank shot to the back of the head, all while handcuffed behind plexiglass in the back seat of a squad car.

"That's kind of a mystery to us," said Powell County Coroner Carl Wells, who conducted an autopsy Thursday.

Greg Adams, a Powell County sheriff's deputy, said Clay City Police Chief Randy Lacy often kept a second gun between the seat and console in the front. He speculated that the extra gun could have slipped to the back, but Kentucky State Police officials handling the investigation wouldn't comment on that theory.

Lacy, 55, had served 22 years in law enforcement and was the only active member of the police force in Clay City, a rural town of 1,300 people about 40 miles east of Lexington.

Although the final results of the autopsy weren't yet available, Wells said Lacy was shot at point-blank range in the back of the head. He was behind the wheel of his cruiser when he was shot, and the car swerved another 350 feet before colliding with a stop sign and rolling into a ditch, Wells said.

The bullet traveled through the wire and plexiglass backseat cage carrying Jamie Barnett, 37, whom Lacy had picked up just minutes earlier for driving while intoxicated. Barnett now faces murder charges at his arraignment Friday morning, according to the Powell County clerk's office.

Barnett has an arrest record dating back to 1993, including multiple drug possession charges.

His most recent arrest prior to the shooting took place April 9, when Barnett was arrested and charged with leaving the scene of an accident, driving with a suspended or revoked license, driving without insurance, DUI and disorderly conduct.

A citation for the incident reports he threatened a state trooper by saying, "Let me out of these handcuffs, I'll hurt you."

State police acknowledged that Lacy handcuffed Barnett in the front rather than behind his back - a frequent practice for suspects he knew.

Charles Angel was visiting a friend at an apartment complex when Barnett swerved his truck around the parking lot, then pounded on doors at the complex. Soon after that, Lacy came racing by in his squad car and picked up Barnett in an alley just down the street.

Just before his arrest, Barnett pulled into the alley, got out of his truck and took his shirt off, said Kelly McCoy, who once served jail time with Barnett. McCoy said he thought Barnett was going to hit him but instead he hugged him.

That's when Lacy arrived and arrested Barnett, McCoy said. Lacy was shot about fives miles away, closer to downtown.

A procession of about three dozen police cars and fire trucks - some from as far as Louisville - followed a hearse carrying Lacy's body Thursday afternoon to Wells Funeral Home in Stanton, Ky., which is handling the arrangements.

Lacy's funeral was scheduled for 2 p.m. EDT Sunday at the Powell County High School gym, with burial in West Bend Cemetery. Visitation was from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday at the funeral home.

Throughout the day Thursday, Lacy's neighbors stopped by to add flowers or balloons to a makeshift memorial at the site of the shooting. Tucked amid the bouquets were an American flag, a plastic angel and a ribbon on a nearby street sign that said, "In Memory Big Randy."

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)


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