Fallen Floyd County officers recognized in Frankfort

Published 1:33 pm Wednesday, July 20, 2022

By Tom Latek

Law enforcement officers who were killed and wounded during a June 30 shootout in Floyd County were honored by the General Assembly’s Veterans, Military Affairs and Public Protection Committee on Wednesday.

Those killed were Floyd County Sheriff’s Deputy William Petry, Prestonsburg police Capt. Ralph Frasure and Prestonsburg Officer Jacob Chaffins, as well as Drago, a police K-9 unit.

Rep. Ashley Tackett-Lafferty, R-Martin, in whose district the shooting occurred, told the panel, “We are here to share the loss suffered by Floyd County, and to pay tribute to our beloved fallen officers, and those still recovering from life-changing injuries.”

Floyd County Deputy Sheriff Kevin Thacker testified he knew fellow deputy William Petry for more than 20 years. He was also a former KSP trooper and member of the Prestonsburg Police Department.

“He was an idol to our office,” Thacker said. “He knew way more than any of the rest of us, but he never let you know that. More importantly, he was a family man and bragged on his family all the time.”

Deputy Prestonsburg Police Chief Ross Shurtleff told the committee he was in the department with Frasure for eight years. “What a huge, quite frankly, punch in the gut this was to us in law enforcement as a family. Anybody who knew Ralph, knew he was the heart of Floyd County law enforcement. He absolutely loved his job, and he had a passion for it.”

Shurtleff also described Chaffins as someone who accomplished whatever he set his mind to do. “He wanted to be a police officer, and would not quit until he got hired. He wanted to be a K-9 handler and he would not quit until he got a dog, Nelson, who he had for just nine months.”

Rep. John Blanton, R-Salyersville, and a retired state police trooper, said he knew Petry and Frasure from when he was a rookie with the KSP and was assigned to the Pikeville Post.

“You have heard about the sacrifices of these men who were husbands, sons, who served our communities well, who placed service above their selves, and in this case their own lives,” Blanton said. “This tragedy struck a small community in eastern Kentucky, and it goes to show that it can strike anywhere.”

Those who appeared before the committee were given framed resolutions honoring those who were killed, to present to their families.

Lance Storz, 49, is accused of ambushing and opening fire on the officers, as they tried to serve a domestic violence warrant on him at his home in the Allen community, resulting in an hours long stand-off, before he surrendered.

Storz has been indicted by the Floyd County grand jury on 20 charges. They include three counts of murder of a police officer, six counts of attempted murder of an officer, seven counts of wanton endangerment against a police officer, three counts of assault, and one count of assaulting a service animal. A police dog was also killed in the ambush.