A Kentucky prosecutor said a man who was behind bars facing charges in the shooting deaths of three police officers during a violent standoff now has another death on his hands: His own. According to the Lexington, Kentucky, Herald-Leader, Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner said 50-year-old Lance Storz was found dead in the Pike County Detention Center. He had hanged himself, Turner said.
A news release posted to Facebook by the Pikeville Police Department on Tuesday said the death was reported about 6:30 a.m. that day, when the detention center said a male inmate was unresponsive. The inmate, identified as Storz, was taken to Pikeville Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. It was a quiet death compared with the blaze of violence authorities said Storz unleashed last summer, according to CNN, when he gunned down a sheriff’s deputy, a police department captain and a police officer with a K-9 partner as they tried to serve an arrest warrant charging him with domestic violence. Killed in the June 30 violence were Floyd County Deputy William Petry, Prestonsburg police Capt. Ralph Frasure and Prestonsburg police Officer Jacob R. Chaffins with his K-9 Drago, according to CNN. The incident started after a relative of Storz’s wife asked law enforcement to check on her welfare, according to the Herald-Leader. When officers arrived, they found Storz asleep and took his wife and the child from the home. In a complaint, the woman said Storz had sexually assaulted her and threatened to kill both her and the couple’s daughter after she told him she was leaving him. The original team serving the arrest warrant was made up of deputies, Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt told reporters at the time. Storz, who was barricaded in the home with a high-powered rifle, appeared to be waiting for them. “They encountered pure hell when they arrived,” Hunt said. “They had no chance.” After the deputies called for backup, Frasure and Chaffins arrived on the scene, only to lose their lives to Storz’s bullets. “When the deputies put out the call for help, the responding agencies, I guess, just entered the line of fire without even knowing where it was coming from,” Hunt said at the time. “We were there for hours before we even knew where it was coming from.” Storz was arrested after a four-hour standoff — but the damage had been done. He could have faced the death penalty in the case, according to the Herald-Leader. “This guy had a plan, and he pretty much executed that plan almost to precision,” Hunt told reporters at the time. On Tuesday, according to the Herald-Leader, Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley said Storz’s death was “a chicken**** way out by a chicken**** coward!” Eric Johnson, the leader of a group that helps with funeral arrangements for slain law enforcement officers, told the Herald-Leader that the shootings that led to the deaths of three lawmen were a landmark tragedy in Kentucky. “This would be the worst in history,” he said. At least four other people were wounded in the shootout, according to the Louisville, Kentucky, Courier Journal. It took place in the town of Allen, in eastern Kentucky, with a population of only about 160, the Courier Journal reported. Storz’s death is being investigated by the Pikeville Police Department, according to the Prestonsburg police news release. This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.
CONFIRMED: Lance Storz, charged with the murder of three KY police officers, has committed suicide in the Pike County Detention Center. He was found dead this morning after hanging himself in the bathroom area, Floyd County Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner confirms. pic.twitter.com/pFBpqdE4FM— Anthony Conn (@AnthonyWCHS) February 28, 2023