Police body camera may tell how shootout began

Posted at 8:23 PM, Dec 22, 2015
and last updated 2015-12-23 18:51:02-05

LUDLOW, KY. – A body camera may tell why a Ludlow police officer and a 61-year-old motorist shot each other Tuesday night.

Charles Reynolds, 61, died after exchanging gunfire with Ludlow Officer Sam Hodge during a traffic stop outside a Dollar Store, but nobody has said who fired first or why.

A friend of Reynolds told WCPO he liked to carry a gun and he may also have been carrying a grudge after a recent run-in with police.

“He always carried a gun. Always," said Bobbi Woodward. "That was his born-given right, he said."

Woodward called Reynolds "my best friend" and said she had known him for or more than 40 years.

Woodward said Reynolds was aggravated with police after an incident at his home a few days ago.

“They told him that their paths would cross again," she said.  "Obviously their paths crossed last night.”

Ludlow officer Sam Hodge

Kentucky State Police Sgt. Danny Caudill says video evidence could fill in the blanks.

“He (Hodge) was wearing a camera," Caudill said. "I personally have not viewed the video, so I don’t know if the camera was functioning or not, [or] if it was, what was captured.”

Hodge was shot in the shoulder and is expected to make a full recovery, according to investigators.  “Don’t know if it [the wound] was through and through. I know that he was treated. I don’t know if he was released yet, but his condition is stable,”  Caudill said.

Hodge has been with Ludlow police for one year but has about 20 years of experience in law enforcement.

Reynolds was shot in the chest. Investigators weren’t able to say if he had a criminal history or provide much information about him.

Residents who knew Reynolds said he was a regular at the Family Dollar and Riverside Market on Elm Street. They said Reynolds kept to himself.

 Troopers said Hodge stopped Reynolds'  maroon GMC van outside the Family Dollar about 7:25 p.m. What happened next is unclear.  A witness, Greg Brann, said he saw Reynolds shoot Hodge.

KSP says the shooting happened in a parking lot. Photo by Ashley Zilka

"I heard the first shot, and it startled us," Brann said. "I was in my house with my mom and dad, and then within 10 to 15 seconds later, you heard three more, so automatically we ran over."

KSP is conducting the investigation at the request of Ludlow police, Caudill said. Det. Jeremy Moore is the lead investigator.

"We just want to do a thorough investigation, make sure that we get all the facts, an unbiased investigation,"  Caudill said. "Ludlow contacted us to do the investigation, so we just want to make sure we get all the facts. We want to be fair."