A Pike grand jury found this week that a Kentucky State Police trooper was justified in shooting a suspect during an incident in October.
According to the grand jury’s report, issued April 28, on Oct. 31, KSP Det. Dustin Thompson, KSP Det. Justin Wireman and Trooper Mark Branham responded to assist Trooper Joshua Scott in his pursuit of Austin Wayne Fields, 29, of Brushy Road, Varney, on U.S. 119.
The report said Fields had fled from Scott while Scott was attempting to conduct a traffic stop on Fields’ vehicle.
After the pursuit was terminated, the report said, the officers responded to Fields’ parents’ residence , where Fields was observed approaching the residence. The officers, the report said, continued to pursue Fields on a surface coal mine road.
Fields, the report said, attempted to turn onto a steep gravel road and his vehicle lost traction on the gravel. Fields, the report said, exited his vehicle, brandishing a firearm.
Thompson was outside his cruiser and observed the firearm. Fields, the report said, then turned toward Thompson and raised the firearm. According to the report, Thompson discharged his firearm six times, striking Fields three times.
Fields, the report said, suffered injuries to both legs and his left shoulder. The grand jury’s report said first aid was immediately administered to Fields by the officers on-scene and he was ultimately transported via helicopter to Pikeville Medical Center, where he was treated for his injuries.
“The grand jury finds that the actions of Det. Thompson were justified in defense of himself and others,” the grand jury concluded in its report on the incident.
The grand jury also indicted Fields on several charges, including first-degree fleeing or evading police (three counts), first-degree wanton endangerment (two counts) and first-degree possession of a controlled substance, linked to the Oct. 31 incident.