OWENSBORO, Ky. (KT) - Kentucky State Police have released the names of those involved in a Sunday incident involving Owensboro Police and a suicidal person who was shot to death in that Daviess County city.
According to the KSP, their preliminary investigation has determined an Owensboro Police Officer conducted a traffic stop around 9:45 am in the 400 block of Parrish Avenue in Owensboro. During the investigation, the officer learned the operator, identified as Ray S. Payne, 39, of Evansville, Indiana, had an active warrant for his arrest.
When the officer asked him to exit the vehicle, Payne allegedly accelerated from the stop dragging the officer. A short vehicle pursuit ensued encompassing several blocks. The suspect left his vehicle with a pistol and ran off.
State Police say he was later spotted walking on Walnut Street near Parrish Avenue with the pistol to his head. A responding Owensboro officer, Michael Mathews, 56, turned onto Walnut from Parrish and closed in on Payne, who then shot himself in the head and fell to the ground. Mathews, who was sitting in his police car, discharged his weapon while in the vehicle, but it is not known yet if the suspect was struck by the officer’s bullet.
The Daviess County Coroner pronounced Payne dead at the scene. An autopsy was conducted by the State Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville on Monday, but the results have not yet been released.
Trooper Corey King, public affairs officer for KSP, told the Owensboro Messenger-Inquirer that footage from Matthews’ dash camera shows Payne shooting himself just before Matthews discharged his weapon through the windshield of his car.
“By looking at the footage, it’s all documented and it’s evident he shoots himself in the head first, before the officer shoots,” King told the newspaper. Matthews fired his weapon perhaps a second after Payne shot himself, he said.
Officer Matthews is a 11-year veteran of the Owensboro Police Department and has been placed on paid administrative leave, which is normal protocol for most police agencies including Owensboro Police Department when officers are involved in the use of force, such as police related shootings.
Kentucky State Police Post 16 detectives were assisted by KSP’s Critical Incident Response Team, Daviess County Coroner’s Office, Owensboro Fire Department, AMR Medics and Owensboro Police Department.
The investigation continues, according to the KSP.