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Inmate With Hidden Gun Murdered Sheriff’s Deputy Who Let Him Have Smoke Break

Benton, KY – A suspect who had a concealed firearm on him during questioning inside the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office (MCSO) last month fatally shot Calloway County Sheriff’s Office (CCSO) Chief Deputy Jody Cash after the chief deputy escorted him outside for a smoke break, according to police.

The series of events leading to Chief Deputy Cash’s murder began shortly after 1 p.m. on May 16, when the multiagency Marshall County Special Response Team arrested 30-year-old Gary Rowland for absconding from parole and firearms-related offenses, WDKY reported.

After the team took Rowland to the MCSO, Chief Deputy Cash and MCSO Deputy Donald Bowman – both of whom served on the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force – met with him to interview him about an unrelated case, according to investigators.

The suspect asked for a cigarette at some point during the interview, so Deputy Bowman and Chief Deputy Cash took him outside to let him smoke, WKDY reported.

While they were outside, Rowland suddenly pulled out a gun he had somehow kept hidden on his body and opened fire, fatally wounding the 44-year-old chief deputy, according to the Kentucky State Police (KSP).

Deputy Bowman and Deputy Brandon Little returned fire, killing the gunman, WKDY reported.

Both deputies were placed on administrative leave while the KSP investigation into the fatal officer-involved shooting was conducted, as per protocol.

Shortly after Chief Deputy Cash’s murder, Calloway County Sheriff Nicky Knight released a statement calling the veteran lawman a “dear friend” who died “while serving his community.”

“I have known Jody and worked with him in various capacities throughout his entire law enforcement career from Murray State Police, Kentucky State Police, Marshall County Sheriff’s Office, and finally as Chief Deputy for Calloway County Sheriff’s Office,” Sheriff Knight wrote.

“We, as law enforcement, work in what Justice Cunningham referred to as ‘the arena of human tragedy,’ yet his compassion, caring, and loving personality shined bright,” the sheriff continued. “He always held true to the Kentucky State Police motto of ‘Service above self.’”

Chief Deputy Cash spent six years serving the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office, six years as the Murray State University assistant police chief, and eight years as a KSP trooper before he joined the CCSO 18 months ago, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page.

“It is our job, the living, to dedicate ourselves to helping this community and by doing that we will honor the legacy of Jody Cash in perpetuity,” Sheriff Knight said. “To his wife Michelle, his son Jackson, and Madyson my thoughts and prayers and the thoughts and prayers of all law enforcement and this community are with you.”

Kentucky Governor Andy Beshear released a statement asking residents to keep Chief Deputy Cash’s loved ones in their prayers.

“This deputy has paid the ultimate sacrifice today while serving our commonwealth,” Beshear wrote. “Let us honor the life, bravery and service of this deputy.”

Written by
Holly Matkin

Holly is a former probation and parole officer who is married to a sheriff’s deputy. She is a regular contributor to Signature Montana magazine, and has written feature articles for Distinctly Montana magazine.

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Written by Holly Matkin


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