FLORENCE, Ky. – A Boone County deputy who shot and killed a 19-year-old driver says he fired through her windshield out of fear that she would run over and kill other deputies and pedestrians along the road and not just him.
In a three-page statement to his supervisor, Deputy Tyler Brockman described being "face to face" with Samantha Ramsey as he was lying on the hood of her moving car - holding on with one hand - and shooting her four times on April 26.
Referring to himself in third person, Brockman said he "knew the operator, Samantha Ramsey, was about to kill him" after she hit him, "causing him to jump on the hood." He said he ordered her to stop and he felt the car picking up speed.
"The shots were fired not only to save his life but also the pedestrians walking on the road and the officers currently just down the road initiating other arrests," Brockman said.
Thursday night, Gary Franke, attorney for Ramsey's family, called Ramsey's death "brutal" and "needless" in the following statement:
“This will serve to respond to the multitude of requests from the media relative to the tragic loss of Samantha Ramsey’s life. Initially, Samantha Ramsey’s family would like to thank the community for their outpouring of support and prayers. They respectfully request time to mourn and to celebrate Samantha’s life. The circumstances surrounding Samantha’s brutal, needless and untimely death are being thoroughly investigated on behalf of the family, Samantha and the community. Samantha’s family has appropriately and continuously requested prayers for all who are involved or suffering Samantha’s loss. Be assured that Samantha and her family anticipate, expect, and will steadfastly seek a fair and just resolution of all issues.”
Brockman shot Ramsey as she and others left a field party attended by scores of underage drinkers, the sheriff's office has said. Brockman was investigating at the scene in the 6000 block of River Road near Hebron after getting reports from partiers.
At the conclusion of his statement, Brockman said:
"Deputy Brockman discharged his weapon as he felt he was about to be killed by the female and had no other choice in the matter of stopping the threat."
Ramsey's passengers and other witnesses have disputed Brockman's version of what happened and questioned his use of deadly force.
The Boone County Sheriff said Thursday he asked the Kentucky State Police to investigate the shooting.
Sheriff Michael A. Helmig said he made the request "to dispel any thoughts of cover up or favoritism" in his own investigation.
But KSP refused, citing policy and current protocol, Helmig said.
Brockman's statement is his first comment on the shooting made public.
Brockman's cruiser cam (See video above) shows him standing at an intersection when Ramsey's car pulls up. It shows Brockman walking toward the car, and the car turning, slowing and then starting to pull away. But they move out of camera view, and it doesn't show what actually happened next.
Brockman gave this account of his confrontation with Ramsey:
"Deputy Brockman flashed his flashlight in the direction of the driver and made visual contact with the female. The operator looked at Deputy Brockman in a very lethargic action, with glassy, watery eyes, then looked back at the road. The vehicle and Deputy Brockman managed to meet and Deputy Brockman began knocking on the window and asking the operator to lower her window.
"At this point the vehicle began to slow, and then speed up, as if trying to decide what to do. Deputy Brockman began back peddling (sic) so as not to get blocked or trapped by his cruiser. The female looked at Deputy Brockman, looked back at the road, looked at Deputy in yet again a very lethargic manner and then one final time back to the road. This is when she punched the gas and made a left turn, striking Deputy Brockman and causing him to jump, to avoid from being run over and killed. Deputy landing on the hood of the car after this occurrence.
"Deputy Brockman was holding the hood with his left hand yelling for the Driver for stop. Deputy also heard nearby pedestrians pleading for the operator to just stop the vehicle.
"Deputy Brockman then heard the RPMs of the car begin to rise, felt the wind picking up on his back, and noticed the car was picking up speed. At this point Deputy Brockman knew the operator, Samantha Ramsey, was about to kill him.
"Deputy Brockman in reaction to the deadly force brought against him drew his Glock 22 Service weapon and fired what he believed to be 3 shots (turned out to be 4) through the driver window. Deputy Brockman was face to face with the female as he was on the hood, and the side of the window where the female was looking out.
"The shots were fired not only to save his life but also the pedestrians walking on the road and the officers currently just down the road initiating other arrests.
"Once firing 4 rounds, Deputy Brockman fell from
the vehicle landing on his right foot and felt a sharp pain, and physical pop. The vehicle was still moving in the direction of Deputy Brockman as Deputy Brockman attempted to stumble out of the way of the vehicle as to not be run over. Deputy Brockman kept his handgun aimed at the car but fired no more rounds."
Continuing his account, Brockman said he told another deputy he couldn't move and he thought his foot and leg were broken.
The sheriff's office has not reported that Brockman suffered any broken bones.
The case will eventually be turned over to a grand jury, a sheriff's spokesperson said.
Boone County Commonwealth Attorney Linda Tally Smith could request a special prosecutor to review it before deciding if charges are filed against Brockman.
Before KSP turned down his request, Sheriff Helmig said he decided it was better for everyone if the state police handled the investigation
“Simply put, we owe it to Samantha’s family, Deputy Brockman and his family, and to our stakeholders for this investigation to be conducted without any cloud of any wrongdoing," Helmig said.
Helmig said KSP Commissioner Rodney Brewer did offer to provide technical support for the investigation.
"We absolutely respect the Commissioner’s position and look forward to any and all assistance his agency can provide," Helmig said.