Small-town residents vow to help family of fallen officer

Officer Tom Cottrell

DANVILLE, Ohio (WCMH)–Flags are flying at half staff in Danville, with this community just starting to digest the act of violence that took the life of officer Tom Cottrell.

Inside Hull’s Sportswear shop in downtown Danville, Maxine Hull and daughter Kim Grassbaugh remember a time when life was much simpler and safer here.

“It’s been family farms. And everybody knew one another. It’s been a wonderful town to grow up in. My parents lived here. My kids were raised here,” said Hull, who has lived in Danville all 80 years of her life.

But that innocence and family feel is now gone, shattered Sunday night.

Investigators with the Knox County Sheriff’s Office suspect Herschel Jones III gunned down Danville police officer Thomas Cottrell just outside the municipal building.

Jones’ ex-girlfriend made this chilling call to 911.

“My ex boyfriend is out in camo…looking to kill a cop,” she said. “”He’s got guns on him. He’s already beaten me and threatened to kill me.”

Kim Grassbaugh says she woke to the news this morning of a crime they don’t see here.

“It’s usually just a speeding ticket. Just any little minor thing. This is really something that we just don’t have here,” she said.

Officer Cottrell’s body was discovered around 11:45 Sunday, but it would take Knox County deputies another two hours to find and arrest Jones near Danville Park.

Mother and daughter agree that robberies and thefts have been on the rise, but violent crimes like this rarely occur.

“It’s people moving into the area and a lot of drugs and it’s getting to be like that with all the communities, I’m afraid,” Hull said.

But fear won’t stop this town and it’s one thousand residents..Maxine Hull is confident they will rally and remain strong.

“It’s so family-oriented that people will try to help one another. And help the family. That’s our main thing now.”

Jones is in the Knox County Jail, where NBC4 is told charges are pending. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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