Man who ambushed, killed 3 Ky. officers in 2022 dies by suicide in jail
A deputy and two officers were killed and several others wounded in the deadliest single day for law enforcement in the state since 1923
By Bill Estep
PIKEVILLE, Ky. — A man charged with murdering three police officers in Eastern Kentucky last June hung himself in jail and died, according to the prosecutor on the case.
Lance Storz, 50, of Floyd County, was being held in the Pike County Detention Center while awaiting trial, according to Brent Turner, commonwealth’s attorney for Floyd County.
Turner said police confirmed to him Storz killed himself in the jail. A Kentucky State Police detective was notified of the incident early Tuesday, Turner said.
An employee at the jail said the facility would not comment.
Storz was charged with ambushing police when they went to his house in Allen, a small town a few miles from Prestonsburg, on June 30 to serve a domestic violence order his wife, Christina, had obtained.
She alleged in the complaint that when she told Storz she was going to leave him, he became irate and said he wouldn’t let her leave.
Storz’s wife said he trapped her in a bedroom, threw her around the room and slapped her, and sexually assaulted her. He allegedly brandished a pistol and demanded that she beg for her life and their daughter’s life, according to the complaint.
”Lance said he has nothing to lose and is ‘all in,’“ his wife said in the complaint. She also said he told her “I would never leave him outside of a body bag” and that he would kill their daughter as well.
A relative of Storz’s wife that she’d been in contact with asked police to check on her. When they arrived, Storz was asleep and police took his wife and daughter to safety.
When officers went back to arrest him, Storz allegedly opened fire on them without warning in the narrow street in front of his home.
Two officers, sheriff’s Deputy William Petry and Ralph Frasure, a captain with the Prestonsburg Police Department, died at the scene and another Prestonsburg officer, Jacob Chaffins, was critically wounded and died the next day.
Several other officers and first responders were wounded in the rain of gunfire, and a police dog was killed.
Storz ultimately surrendered.
He could have faced the death penalty in the case.
Turner said he had not filed a formal notice that he would seek the death penalty if Storz was convicted, but said it was likely he would have.
Many people in Floyd County knew the three officers, and the deaths hit hard in the community. Thousands of people attended funerals for the officers or lined roads as hearses carried their bodies to the cemetery.
Emotions are still raw for some.
Reacting to Storz’s death, Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley said that in his opinion, “it’s a chicken---- way out by a chicken---- coward!”
Eric W. Johnson, head of an organization called Supporting Heroes that helps set up funerals for slain officers, said three guards at the state prison in Eddyville were killed in a riot in 1923, but he was not aware of another case in which three police officers were killed in Kentucky in a single confrontation.
“This would be the worst in history,” he said.
The national suicide prevention hotline has recently been changed to a three-digit suicide and crisis hotline. It is available 24/7 and can be reached by dialing 988. More information can be found at 988lifeline.org.