Police officer shot and killed overnight in Knox Co; Officer and suspect identified

The suspect's ex-girlfriend called 911 and told officers that the suspect was going out with the intention of hurting officers.

DANVILLE, Ohio (WCMH) — A Danville police officer was shot and killed overnight in Knox County.

Thomas Cottrell (Danville PD)
Thomas Cottrell (Danville PD)

According to the Knox County Sheriff David Shaffer, Officer Thomas Cottrell was killed in the line of duty late Sunday night.

Sheriff Shaffer said around 11:20 p.m. Sunday, the Knox County dispatch center received a call stating that police officers in Danville were in danger. The woman told dispatchers that her ex-boyfriend, Herschel Ray Jones had left with weapons and was looking to kill an officer.

Dispatchers then tried to contact the Danville officer on duty, but were unsuccessful. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Office then searched the village.

Shortly before midnight, deputies found the body of Officer Thomas Cottrell on the ground behind the municipal building. His gun had been taken and his cruiser was missing.

Investigators say Jones was seen running from a residence on East Washington Street around 1:36 a.m. Monday. After a foot chase, Jones was taken into custody.

The suspect’s brother, John Jones, told NBC4 he spoke to Herschel Jones minutes before he was taken into custody. He said Herschel had taken a quantity of an anti-anxiety drug called Klonopin.

“He was out of his mind on drugs,” Jones said. “He already had done what he done. He still didn’t admit it to me though – that’s how far out of his mind he was. He completely went over the edge.”

John Jones says family members called Herschel’s parole officer last week to report that he had guns and drugs and was at risk of doing something bad. John Jones says nothing was done.

Jones says his brother had asked judges on several occasions to send him to a mental institution rather than to prison. He says those requests were denied.

A woman who was outside of the residence was also taken into custody and later released.

The Knox County Sheriff’s Office is investigating the incident with the help of the Ohio Bureau of Investigation.

Danville is a village in Knox County with a population of just over 1,000 people. The police department employs six people and Chief Daniel J. Weckesser was appointed to the job on January 4.

A GoFundMe page has been set up for Cottrell’s family.

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