St. Louis, MO – Hermann Police Department (HPD) Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith was murdered in the line of duty while responding to a disturbance at a convenience store on Sunday night.
The incident began at the Casey’s store at 115 MO-19 just before 9:30 p.m. on March 12, WGEM reported.
Two Hermann police officers responded to the scene after receiving a report of a disturbance, according to investigators.
They subsequently encountered 35-year-old fugitive Kenneth Lee Simpson, who has allegedly been on the run since at least April of 2022, WGEM reported.
According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP), Simpson opened fire on the officers, hitting them both.
A source said one of the officers was shot in the head and the second officer was shot in the chest, WGEM reported.
They were immediately flown to a St. Louis hospital, where one of the officers succumbed to his injuries.
The MSHP identified him in a tweet early Monday morning as Hermann Police Department (HPD) Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith.
The City of Hermann confirmed Det. Sgt. Griffith’s tragic death in a press release later in the day.
“It is with great sadness that Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith, age 34, succumbed to his injuries following the shooting,” the city said. “Hermann Police Officer Adam Sullentrup, age 31, sustained injuries and we are hopeful for his recovery. Please keep these brave men and their family, friends, and colleagues in your thoughts and prayers.”
Officer Sullentrup was listed in serious but stable condition on Monday morning, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP).
The MSHP issued a Blue Alert for Simpson just before 10 p.m. on Sunday, KRCG reported.
They said Simpson fled the scene in an unknown direction in a black Jeep Wrangler.
Investigators later determined the gunman barricaded himself inside a residence across the street from the convenience store, KMOV reported.
Simpson was taken into custody by the MSHP SWAT team at approximately 2 p.m. on March 13, the highway patrol said in an update.
No further details regarding his arrest were immediately available.
Police said Simpson has a lengthy criminal history dating back to at least 2004, WGEM reported.
He is also the subject of multiple pending cases and has been on the run for nearly a year, according to investigators.
The MSHP Division of Drug and Crime Control is handling the ongoing investigation.
BackStoppers Executive Director Chief Ron Battelle said on a fundraising page established to help Det. Sgt. Griffith’s family that the young officer’s murder is “a devastating loss.”
The organization is also assisting Officer Sullentrup as he begins his long road to recovery.
“My heart is with the families and loved ones of Det. Sgt. Mason Griffith and Officer Adam Sullentrup,” Battelle said. “It is my greatest prayer that Officer Sullentrup makes a full recovery. We will never forget the bravery and ultimate sacrifice of Det. Sgt. Griffith, and we vow to help and honor his legacy. The Hermann Missouri Police Department and community is in the forefront of my prayers.”
Det. Sgt. Griffith leaves behind his wife, Jennifer, and his young son.
“I have no words… except, you were the most incredible husband, father and leader in your community!” Jennifer wrote in a Facebook post early Monday morning. “You are already greatly missed. I will do my best to honor you every day. Karson will never forget you! I want to Thank all my friends family and first responder family!!! Rest Easy Mason we have it from here!!!”
Det. Sgt. Griffith served the HPD for 13 years, the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) said in a tweet.
The #FBI sends our condolences to the family, friends, and colleagues of Detective Sergeant Mason E. Griffith. He served with the Hermann Police Department in Missouri and was a 13-year police veteran. pic.twitter.com/2HNNaNiwjp
— FBI (@FBI) March 13, 2023
RIP. Missouri Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith was murdered when he was shot and killed by a wanted fugitive. He is survived by his wife and son. STOP SHOOTING MY POLICE OFFICERS!!! #rip #murdered #hero #DetectiveSergeantMasonGriffith #HermannPoliceDepartment #eow pic.twitter.com/qV1Pe5xidW
— Protecting the Blue (@protectingblue) March 13, 2023
Here is a good look at the SWAT team in front of the house on Market in Hermann, MO. @KMOV
We are being moved off the scene by Gasconade Co. Sheriff, who confirm the standoff is still going.
Police believe the suspect accused of shooting two local officers last night is inside. pic.twitter.com/mywpRdXsl5
— Alex Gaul (@AlexGaulTV) March 13, 2023
— Alex Gaul (@AlexGaulTV) March 13, 2023
🔹 Blessed Are The Peacemakers 🔹
Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith
Hermann Police Department, Missouri
— National Fraternal Order of Police (FOP) (@GLFOP) March 13, 2023
Our thoughts and prayers are with the family of Hermann Police Department Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith, both blood and blue. Thank you for your service.
Detective Sergeant Mason Griffith, your life mattered.