Suspect in Hopkinsville Officer Shooting Died After Encounter with Police in Clarksville

Mar 30, 2018

Officer Phillip Meacham
Credit Courtesy of Kentucky State Police

April 9 Update: The Kentucky State Police has revealed more details about the incident involving James Decoursey and Phillip Meacham. On March 29, Officer Meacham was off-duty in his personal vehicle and observed another vehicle unlawfully flashing blue lights approaching behind him. This vehicle was being driven by Decoursey. 

Meacham got behind Decoursey and contacted an on-duty supervisor at 4:59 p.m. He requested a uniformed officer to assist in investigating the vehicle. Decoursey pulled into the dead-end Paulette Court and Meacham remained nearby to make sure he didn't leave. at 5:11 p.m. a uniformed officer met Meacham before they approached Decoursey, who was working on his vehicle in a driveway.

Decoursey then shot Meacham and fled the scene. Meacham was transported to Jennie Stuart Medical Center where he was pronounced deceased.


Friday Morning Update: James K. Decoursey is no longer a threat to the public. In a release early Friday morning, Kentucky State Police say they were notified by law enforcement in Tennessee that Decoursey was located in Clarksville where he had a brief encounter with law enforcement. Decoursey was shot and died from his injuries. Tennessee Bureau of Investigation is investigating the incidents that occurred there.  

Update: The slain officer is 38-year-old Phillip Meacham. Police say he has been with Hopkinsville Police Department since May 2017. Prior to that, he had served in the Christian County Sheriff's Department for 12 years. He was married with one school-age child. (Note: KSP has issued a correction to an earlier statement that he had two school-age children.) 

According to Kentucky State Police, numerous federal, state and local agencies are assisting in a searching for suspect James Decoursey. Tennessee Highway Patrol is piloting a helicopter. Police say Decoursey is presumed to be armed and dangerous.

KSP Trooper Rob Austin said due to the sensitivity of an investigation underway details of the shooting incident are not being released at this time.

Austin said KSP has received tips as to Decoursey's whereabouts, but that he has not been located. He said anyone with possible information to contact their local law enforcement agency or 911.

"I hope everyone keeps the Hopkinsville Police Department and Officer Meacham's family in their thoughts and prayers," Austin said.   

Police say suspect James K. Decoursey is armed and dangerous.
Credit Courtesy of Kentucky State Police, via Hopkinsville Police Department

Earlier Update: The Hopkinsville Police Department says an off-duty Hopkinsville Police Officer was pulled over in his personal vehicle at 5:10 p.m. by a subject pretending to be a police officer. 

He was soon after fatally shot by suspect 34-year-old James Kennith Decoursey of Hopkinsville.

According to a release from the Kentucky State Police, Decoursey then fled the scene on foot and stole a 1997 white Chevrolet pick-up truck with a Kentucky license plate: 2070GH. Police say he is armed and dangerous. 

The officer was transported to Jennie Stuart Medical Center where he died from his injuries. Police are not revealing the name of the officer at this time to allow time to notify his family.

KSP asks anyone with information to contact Post 2 at 270-676-3313 or anonymously at 1-800-222-5555.

Responding to the shooting, Gov. Matt Bevin tweeted Thursday night, "There is no greater sacrifice than that of a person willing to lay down their life for another... Thank God for the #ThinBlueLine."

State Senator Whitney Westerfield of Hopkinsville tweeted Thursday night, "Please be in prayer for the family who was shot and killed today; a callous act that I hope is met swiftly with the hands of justice." He also thanked KSP Commissioner Rick Sanders for dispatching help to Hopkinsville. 

Attorney General Andy Beshear tweeted on Thursday, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the family, friends and colleagues of the @HopkinsvillePD officer who was shot and killed this evening. We are thinking of the entire community of Hopkinsville." 


A police officer in Hopkinsville was injured in a shooting on Thursday. 

State Representative Walker Thomas (whose district includes Hopkinsville) said on the House floor he had received text messages about the shooting and requested a moment of silence for the officer.

Kentucky State Police Post 2 Trooper Rob Austin confirmed that an officer had been shot. Austin said he believed the officer was off-duty. He said he was taken to the hospital, but didn't know his condition. He said the shooter had not been caught.

Christian County Emergency Management shared on Facebook that the suspect is 35-year-old James Kennith Decoursey, a white male, 6'1" weighing 260 pounds with brown eyes and black hair. 

According to police scanner traffic in Calloway County, Decoursey was last seen leaving Paulette Court in Hopkinsville in a white 1997 Chevrolet truck.

This post has been updated.