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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  • by Shirley Location: clay city on Jan 18, 2008 at 07:35 AM
    I,ve lived here for 15 years,Randy was a fine man.I,m sorry for his family,he was always here for my family.
  • by mike Location: clay city on Jun 27, 2007 at 01:39 PM
    the day randy was killed was the day the world found a hole in it , and that hole in the world will never ever be filled or repaired! randy was a great friend and he will forever be in my heart.
  • by Preston Location: Knott County Kentucky on Jun 23, 2007 at 09:55 PM
    Currently, I am 16 years old but when I am 21, I plan on being a Kentucky State Police Officer. when I heard the news of such an even occuring, it brought up a cruel reminder of the price many Law Enforcement officers have paid to ensure that the law is upholded. Although I never had the pleasure of meeting the Police Chief I feel like I have lost a friend. My thoughts and prayers go out to all the friends and family who knew this great man.
  • by Alex Location: Clay City on Jun 19, 2007 at 02:29 PM
    God bless all Big Randy's family.
  • by Danita Location: Stanton on Jun 19, 2007 at 01:08 PM
    Our hearts are broken, I can say that as a wife of a police officer for over 20 years, that this nightmare is always in the back of our minds. All officers everywhere have a bond that is only described as a band of brothers and the support and respect they show each other was evident througout this tragedy. God be with all of the Lacy family.
  • by Linda Mink Location: Clay city on Jun 19, 2007 at 10:57 AM
    A friend in Somerset How can unite Group contact you? This is about Randy Lacy and the good he has done. You don't live here and you didn't vote for Judge Kenny Profitt so really your thoughts don't count.Judge Profitt does what he can with all of the evidence he has, Some people think others don't know they really are. I think you and frank from winchester have a lot in common with the drug issues, alcohol and dvo's. Our police officers can only do so much with all the domestic violence, drugs, and drunks. I don't think our police officers and/or Judges can be "bought" as I have heard so many times. It is only the attorneys that get PAID for there services.... Give Randy the respect he deserves! Move back to Powell County and VOTE the next time then your thoughts will matter.
  • by Marsha Location: claycity on Jun 19, 2007 at 10:31 AM
    Randy was God sent for my 2 kids Trevor and Allison and me. We endured alot of emotional physical and mental abuse while going through a seperation and divorce. Not only did Randy bring us food when we had nothing he took time to pray for us and check on us as the year long divorce was dragged out by attorneys looking to make huge profits. Powell county is a wonderful place to live,Our children don't have to be afraid they can always go to the local police officers. who are not on anyone side they uphold the law.
  • by A friend Location: Somerset, Ky. on Jun 19, 2007 at 09:15 AM
    My heart goes out to the Lacy Family. I grew up with the Lacy Family. I was a life long resident of Powell Co., until about a years ago,when the drug problem ran me out. Drugs have taken over both Stanton and Clay City. But what do you expect when you have a district judge, who pats them on the hand and turns them loose, just to go do it again. It is not only his fault, but a few others that are in the public eye and suppose to be stopping the drug problem, let me say it this way, "a lot of our officials there are not what they claim to be". and I do say there are more than just one or two of them. I can't wait until the UNITE GROUP bust that little co. wide open. I would love to talk with one of the unite group, I can tell them a lot and give them a lot of names that may be of help. It sadens me terribly to see the home town I grew up in, , has gone to the dogs. It will never get any better until the put the district judge out and get someone in there that will put them behind bars and keep them there. It is who you know and what you do that runs that place. another big problem there is DVO's, it doesn't do any good to have one, you can break it and still walk away free. again, this fall's into who you know and what you do! then they wonder what and how it happened. This again goes back to the district judge, he is not doing what he should.
  • by Friendly person Location: Montgomery County on Jun 18, 2007 at 08:31 PM
    I would like to express my sympathy for this family and to Clay City community during this time. I would also like to say that the new Chief of Police will stand by his word and will do everything in his will power to help get drugs moved out of this town. There is so many people that have turned to drugs and they need help. May GOD be with you and your family during the tragic loss.
  • by Mark Location: Midwest on Jun 18, 2007 at 08:36 AM
    This chief provided the means for his own death. He would still be alive if he had done things properly. You handcuff the badguy behind his back and not leave a weapon where someone else could get to it.


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