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Family challenges police account of fatal Hebron shooting

Posted at 11:34 AM, Jun 27, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-01 10:33:12-04

HEBRON, Ky. — A man was shot and killed during a confrontation with Boone County Sheriff's deputies early Saturday morning. On Monday, the Louisville medical examiner identified him as 33-year-old Hebron resident Michael Pelley.

According to Kentucky State Police, deputies had several encounters with Pelley before receiving information that he was located on Petersburg Road in Hebron. State investigators said deputies located Pelley just after 4:00 a.m., and that he charged at them while armed with a knife. Kentucky State officials said a deputy then fired at Pelley multiple times, striking and injuring him.

Of the four deputies on scene, only one fired at the suspect, according to officials. State police also said the deputies on scene performed CPR on Pelley from the time immediately after he was shot until emergency crews arrived. He was then transported to St. Elizabeth in Florence, where he died from his injuries.

On Tuesday, members of Pelley's family questioned law enforcement's account of the incident in a statement made through their attorney.

"Michael’s family wishes to avoid saying or doing anything that would contribute to the hostile sentiments that have been directed toward police officers across America following a fatal shooting by a police officer," attorney Jerry Miniard wrote. "However, Michael’s family has chosen to break their silence at this moment to question the accuracy of the events, as reported to the media, relating to Michael’s actions and behavior moments before he was shot and killed. ... The family continues to be hopeful that the facts will be forthcoming as to how Michael’s tragic, sudden and unexpected death occurred."

The family's statement described Pelley as an "honest, hardworking young man" who respected police, including the Boone County Sheriff's Office, and ended with a request for privacy as they prepare for his memorial and burial.

The ongoing investigation is being conducted by the Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team.