Kentucky man charged in officers' deaths found dead in cell

A Kentucky man charged in the deaths of three police officers during an ambush in a small Applachian town was found dead in his jail cell

ByDYLAN LOVAN Associated Press
February 28, 2023, 1:48 PM

LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- A Kentucky man charged in the deaths of three law enforcement officers during an ambush in a small Appalachian town has been found dead in his jail cell.

Lance Storz, 50, was found dead of an apparent suicide Tuesday morning at the Pike County Detention Center, where he was being held on three murder charges, Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said Tuesday.

The sheriff's office said Storz opened fire on officers with a high-powered rifle on June 30 when they arrived at his home to serve a protective order. Hunt described the scene as a “war zone” during an hours-long standoff before Storz surrendered.

The shooting was one of the deadliest for law enforcement officers in Kentucky's history. Officials said it was the most law enforcement deaths in a single incident since a 1923 prison riot left three officers dead.

Hunt said police in Pike County are investigating Storz's cause of death.

One of Hunt's deputies, William Petry, was killed when Storz opened fire on officers without warning. Prestonsburg Police Capt. Ralph Frasure was also killed, and Prestonsburg officer Jacob Chaffins died the next day of gunshot wounds. Four other officers were wounded.

Hunt said one of his deputies injured in the shooting would never get to see Storz face justice.

“I have a deputy who’s wounded for life, and I’m sure he wanted the chance to look this guy in the eye in court, and he’s been cheated of that,” Hunt said.

Police went to the house in the community of Allen after a family member said Storz’s wife was being abused and held in the home against her will, according to the sheriff's office. The wife was waiting for officers when they arrived, telling the officers Storz was asleep, so she was able to get outside. Four officers, including Petry, returned to serve a protective order against Storz. Hunt said Storz watched them approach from a window and began shooting.