Allen, Kentucky is a place that holds fond memories for me. When I was only 16, the Allen Baptist Church invited me to speak at a weekend for young people. I had the opportunity to meet and work with over a hundred people from the Allen community. Lasting friendships have been made with some of the best people on the planet. To this day, the kindness and companionship bestowed upon me by this group of people has been instrumental in shaping the direction of my life.
Sadly, even the best communities and dearest people on earth can experience pure hell. Mental illness erupted when three Floyd County police officers were shot in Allen last week. According to reports, they were trying to serve a warrant on a 49-year-old man accused of domestic violence.
Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said officers faced “pure hell” when they arrived at the man’s home.
Four other people were injured at the scene in Allen, a small town of 166 people just outside Prestonsburg.
The officers who died in the shooting Thursday night were named Captain Ralph Frasure, Deputy William Petry and Dog Handler Jacob Chaffins. K-9 Drago, one of the dogs handled by Mr. Chaffins, also died.
Captain Frasure had been with the Prestonsburg, Ky., police department for 39 years. The department said he served “with honor and glory until the last second”.
The men were met with a barrage of gunfire when they drove to the Main Street home shortly before 6 EST.
The shooting continued for almost three hours before suspect Lance Storz was taken into custody, having surrendered after negotiations involving members of his family.
He was charged with three counts of murder of a police officer, five counts of attempted murder of a police officer, one count of attempted murder and one count of first-degree assault on an animal. ‘assistance.
The families and friends of police officers killed and police officers injured have changed forever. The community of Allen will forever be scarred by one of the worst events to ever occur in the state of Kentucky.
Gun violence is not limited to age. An assault rifle in the hands of any mentally deranged person results in tragedy.
The police have a scary job. It’s no wonder they’re nervous and sometimes seem quick to pull out their guns. Floyd County officers walked into a situation and were completely caught off guard. In hindsight, they would approach Storz differently. Too often, a miscalculation is fatal. In moments of what seems like just another day of work or life, the worst tragedies can happen.
Allen is a wonderful town in eastern Kentucky. The city is filled with beautiful and loving people. Evil at the highest level can exist and break out anywhere. It’s not limited to a big city hundreds of miles away. That’s why all communities, sheriff’s departments, schools, and churches need to be vigilant and aware of the continuing dangers of the growing epidemic of mental illness in the United States. Ignoring our cultural dilemma of mental illness will only perpetuate ongoing deaths.
Dr. Glenn Mollette is an author and his column is published weekly in over 600 publications in all 50 states.