Hundreds of law enforcement officers attend funeral for slain KSP trooper

Hundreds of law enforcement officials attend slain KSP trooper's funeral
Published: Sep. 14, 2015 at 3:25 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 18, 2015 at 9:45 PM CDT
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Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder (Source: KSP)
Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder (Source: KSP)
Flags are half-staff across the state of Kentucky in honor of Trooper Ponder.
Flags are half-staff across the state of Kentucky in honor of Trooper Ponder.

LYON COUNTY, KY (KFVS) - People from across the country mourn the loss of Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder.

Clusters of people lined the highway leading from a Baptist church where a slain Kentucky state trooper was eulogized.

Some of the people standing by the road in Elizabethtown, Kentucky, held American flags, others placed their hands over their hearts and others held signs in support of police.

A giant U.S. flag hoisted by fire truck ladders is on display as mourners gathered Friday morning for the funeral of Kentucky State Police Trooper Joseph Cameron Ponder.

Hundreds of law enforcement officers from across Kentucky and the country entered Severns Valley Baptist Church in Elizabethtown for the funeral.

Dispatchers and troopers from several posts across the state have volunteered to work at Post 1 in Mayfield this week to ensure those who knew Trooper Ponder get a chance to grieve and pay their respects.

The decorated Navy veteran was fatally shot Sunday after a high-speed chase in western Kentucky.

Trooper Ponder was shot while pursuing a suspect late Sunday evening. Ponder later died from his injuries at a local hospital.

State police Commissioner Rodney Brewer remembered Ponder as a hero "in the true sense of the word, not just because of how he died but more importantly how he lived his life."

Brewer said Ponder lived a life "full of purpose and meaning and direction and sacrifice."

(Click here for full details on the shooting)

"He was very proud to be a Kentucky State Police trooper," KSP Trooper Jay Thomas said. "He was new and he was eager. He absolutely loved his job."

The 31-year-old is originally from Rineyville, Ky.

Before becoming a state trooper, Ponder served in the U.S. Navy. He enlisted in Sept. 2007, when he was 23.

Ponder was a navy diver.

Over the course of six years, he was stationed in Great Lakes, Ill., Coronado, Calif., Panama City, Fla., and San Diego, Calif.

During his time with the Navy he was honored with several awards including: Combat Action Ribbon, Good Conduct Medal, Navy Expeditionary Medal, National Defense Service Medal, Global War on Terrorism Service Medal, Expert Rifle Marksmanship Ribbon and Expert Pistol Marksmanship Ribbon.

He was discharged from the U.S. Navy in July 2013.

In January 2015, Ponder graduated from the KSP Training Academy.

At that time, he was stationed at Post 1 in Mayfield, Ky. He was assigned to the Trigg County area.

Ponder had plans to move closer to home with in the next year.

"We're all just holding it together the best we can and continue to do our jobs," said Trooper Thomas. "It's tough on us and it's tough on our families."

Funeral Arrangements

Coffey & Chism Funeral Home in Vine Grove, Ky. is handling funeral arrangements.

Visitation for Trooper Ponder will be from 1 p.m. until 8 p.m. Thursday at the Stithton Baptist Church, 95 Park Ave., Radcliff, KY 40160. There will be no visitation prior to the service on Friday.

Funeral services for will be held at 11 a.m., Friday, September 18 at the Severns Valley Baptist Church, 1100 Ring Road, Elizabethtown, KY 42701.

Burial with military honors will be at the Kentucky Veterans Cemetery Central in Radcliff following the service.

Trooper Ponder was a member of the Church of Christ, Elizabethtown, KY. He was an avid hunter & fisherman who loved the outdoors.

Survivors include his father, Joseph Ponder of Radcliff, KY; his mother, Brenda Tiffany & her husband, Allan of Rineyville, KY; his fiancée, Chrystal Coleman of Radcliff, KY; a sister, Kelly Ponder of Elizabethtown, KY; two brothers, Damon Tiffany, Travis Tiffany; his grandma, Erika Shook of Vine Grove, KY; a niece, Mahlea Starks of Elizabethtown, KY; and a host of family & friends.

Motorcade procession route

The motorcade procession will leave Severns Valley Baptist Church, located at 1100 Ring Rd. in Elizabethtown, Ky. on Sept. 18 at noon.

It will turn left on Patriot Pkwy. (KY 361); take an immediate left onto Ring Rd. (KY 3005); follow Ring Rd. to Dixie Highway (US 31-W); proceed north on US 31-W through Elizabethtown and Radcliff; end at Kentucky Veterans Cemetery, located at 2501 N. Dixie Blvd. in Ft. Knox, Ky.

KSP encourages the public to watch the motorcade procession and celebrate the life and service of Trooper Ponder.

Prayer vigil

The Wickliffe, Kentucky First Baptist Church is hosting a vigil in support of law enforcement and other first responders.

This comes following the murder of a Kentucky State Trooper, Joseph Ponder,  Sunday and the shooting of an Arizona police officer Wednesday.

All are invited to attend.

The Lyon County community is hosting a vigil at 7 p.m. Sunday in front of the Eddyville judicial building the remember the Kentucky trooper shot Sunday.

Statement from the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet on Facebook

"Kentucky Transportation Cabinet employees work closely with area law enforcement on a regular basis. Whether it is assisting with detouring traffic around a crash on the Interstate, or responding to other emergencies, there is a certain friendship that develops over the years.

"As the law enforcement community, especially our friends at Kentucky State Police Post 1, go through a tough day at the end of a tough week, KYTC employees are joining thousands of others to show our support by placing blue tape on the rear of our vehicles and on windows around the office. We do so to acknowledge the special service our law enforcement officers provide to society, to show support for those who put their lives on the line for the rest of us, and to honor Trooper Ponder and his family.

"We invite everyone to join us by placing blue tape on the rear of your vehicle or placing a blue bulb in your porch light."

Statements from elected officials

U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell made the following remarks on the Senate floor Sept. 15 to honor Trooper Ponder.

"Joseph Ponder was proud to be a Kentucky State Police Trooper. 'He was eager and just absolutely loved his job' is how a state police spokesman described him. Ponder tragically lost his life in the line of duty this week. We're thinking of that 31-year old Rineyville native today here in the Senate. We're praying for his family and for his friends. I know his fellow officers in the law enforcement community feel the loss, and so do the Kentuckians that he worked every day to protect. So I ask the entire Senate community to join me in honoring Trooper Ponder."

U.S. Rep. Ed. Whitfield (KY-01) released this state about Trooper Ponder's death.

"My thoughts and prayers are with the loved ones of Kentucky State Police Trooper, Joseph Cameron Ponder.  Trooper Ponder was callously murdered while carrying out his duties to serve and protect the citizens of Kentucky.  Our Nation must stand united with the men and women of law enforcement who risk their lives every day to ensure that we are able to live in a safe and peaceful society."

Lyon County Judge Executive Wade White wrote this on the Lyon County Facebook page:

"We mourn the loss of one of our finest. Keep his family and his law enforcement family in your prayers. And thankfully the shooter of this fine young officer is dead. Thanks to the state police and local law enforcement and our first responders who kept vehicle order and state highway department. Thanks to the red cross for bringing the food. We made sure these men and women were fed and taken care of in our county. We appreciate and stand by our law enforcement. I made sure to shake the hand of each officer that came to help and thank each one for their service on behalf of Lyon County."

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Copyright 2015 KFVS. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.