Suspected shooter in KY trooper death had previous charges in IL - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Suspected shooter in KY trooper death had previous charges in IL

Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks was suspected of shooting and killing a Kentucky State Police trooper after a traffic stop and chase. (Source: Lyon County Judge Executive) Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks was suspected of shooting and killing a Kentucky State Police trooper after a traffic stop and chase. (Source: Lyon County Judge Executive)
FRANKLIN COUNTY, IL (KFVS) -

The suspected shooter of a Kentucky State Police trooper had previous charges in Illinois.

According to a police report out of Franklin County, Illinois in December 2014, Joseph Thomas Johnson-Shanks was pulled over on Interstate 57 near the 70 mile marker.

The officer reported he saw the vehicle going southbound and clocked it at 97 mph.

According to the report, when the officer approached the vehicle, he saw the Johnson-Shanks had the glove box open and had removed a paper, then quickly closed the glove box.

The officer said he immediately smelled burnt cannabis coming from within the vehicle. He asked Johnson-Shanks whether he had any cannabis in the vehicle, and said Johnson-Shanks replied, "I ain't gonna lie, I smoked a bit."

According to the report, a records check revealed that Johnson-Shanks had a revoked license in Missouri. He was then arrested.

The officer said the passenger in the vehicle told him they had smoked some while driving, but she didn't know if there was more in the vehicle. A records check showed she had a suspended driver's license in Missouri.

Police found a box in the rear passenger floorboard that contained four individually wrapped bags of what was believed to be cannabis. Also in the box was a black digital scale. A box of Cigarillos was found near the box.

According to the report, three more bags of what was believed to be cannabis was found in the driver's side door in an open storage area. Along with these bags were three empty plastic baggies, three packages of black and mild Cigarillos containing a total of four cigarillos with suspected cannabis, as well as a metal grinder used to prepare the cannabis for ingestion.

A total of $118 was also found with these items in small, mixed bills.

The report stated a black revolver with wood grips was found in the glove box. It was loaded with seven rounds of .22 ammunition. The gun was a high standard sentinel MK IV .22 and was allegedly positioned with the handle facing the driver, providing instant access.

A box of Winchester WIN MAG .22 was found in the trunk. It contained 11 rounds.

According to the report, a records check revealed the gun was clear, having not been entered as stolen.

After another check of Johnson-Shanks' criminal history, the officer believed he was a convicted felon in Missouri.

The officer asked Johnson-Shanks about the items found in the vehicle. He said Johnson-Shanks told him they were for personal use.

When asked about the gun, Johnson-Shanks allegedly told the officer he carries it for protection.

The officer said he asked Johnson-Shanks if he had any intention of using the gun on him when he approached the vehicle because he had the glove box open at the time with his right hand in the glove box. He said Johnson-Shanks replied that he did not.

Johnson-Shanks was taken to the Franklin County Jail.

After a search, officers say Johnson-Shanks had $493 on him, along with eight individual bags of suspected cannabis that weighed approximately 74 grams.

He was cited for speeding and driving while license revoked. He was charged with unlawful possession of drug paraphernalia, unlawful possession of weapons by a felon and unlawful possession of cannabis with intent to deliver.

According to Franklin County State's Attorney Evan L. Owens, Johnson-Shanks was released on a $25,000 bond on Jan. 24, 2015.

Owens said further investigation revealed that Johnson-Shanks was not a convicted felon at the time of the December arrest, but rather he had received a suspended imposition of sentence for a felony in Missouri in 2007.

According to Owens, on Feb. 5 Johnson-Shanks pleaded guilty to unlawful possession of cannabis with the intent to deliver. He was convicted and placed under an order of conditional discharge for 30 months.

The gun was forfeited to the Franklin County Sheriff's Office as part of the plea agreement.

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