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Mo. officer fatally shot, another wounded by man at gas station; suspect in custody after standoff

Detective Sgt. Mason Griffith was killed and another officer remains in serious, but stable condition

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Hermann Police Department Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith.

Missouri State Highway Patrol Troop F/Twitter

Duty Death: Mason Griffith - [Hermann]

End of Service: 12/03/2023

By Associated Press

HERMANN, Mo. (AP) — The search for the man suspected of killing one small-town Missouri police officer and badly injuring another ended Monday when the man came out of a home that had been surrounded by police.

The shooting happened about 9:30 p.m. Sunday at a convenience store in Hermann, a town of 2,100 residents about 80 miles (130 kilometers) west of St. Louis. Detective Sgt. Mason Griffith of the Hermann Police Department died, and Officer Adam Sullentrup, 31, was hospitalized in stable condition, authorities said.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol has not released information about what led to the shooting. It wasn’t clear if the officers returned fire. The patrol identified the suspect as 35-year-old Kenneth Lee Simpson of St. Louis County.

By early Tuesday, police surrounded a home along Highway 19 not far from the shooting site. TV video at midday showed a police robot being used to pull off the front screen door, then a drone was sent in.

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A robot removes the storm door of a home as tactical units from the Missouri Highway Patrol and St. Charles County police wait outside to search for a man accused of shooting two Hermann police officers Sunday night, on Monday, March 13, 2023, in Hermann, Mo. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that police are focusing their search for a suspect Kenneth Lee Simpson on a home along Highway 19 near Hermann, not far from where the shooting happened.

Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP

The patrol confirmed Tuesday afternoon that the suspect was taken into custody after exiting the home. No other information was immediately released.

Robert Koerber, who was Hermann’s mayor when Griffith was hired seven years ago, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Griffith was a natural as a police officer, someone people trusted.

“He was one of my favorite officers because he had such an easy and effective style,” Koerber said. “He seemed to take a personal interest in people. He was interested in whatever your problem was.”

Online Missouri court records show Simpson has a long history of criminal charges involving drugs, weapons offenses, assault and property damage. A St. Louis County judge issued a warrant for Simpson’s arrest in August when he failed to show up in court in a drug possession case.

Hermann is town known for its annual German festivals is the county seat of Gasconade County. The local school district canceled classes Monday as a precaution.

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