Allen, KY – The suspect accused of murdering three Kentucky law enforcement officers and a K9, and wounding four more officers and a civilian during an ambush attack last week was under investigation for holding a woman against her will inside his home for multiple days.
Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said during a press conference on July 3 that the series of events leading up to the horrific shooting began earlier on June 30, when the Floyd County Sheriff’s Office (FCSO) received a report about a woman who was allegedly being held against her will, WSAZ reported.
Deputies responded to a residence located near Railroad Street and Main Street to conduct a welfare check on the woman, at which point the alleged victim ran out to their approaching patrol vehicles, according to Sheriff Hunt.
Deputies said the frantic woman told them that her husband, 49-year-old Lance Storz, was inside the house asleep, which provided her with an opportunity to escape, WSAZ reported.
She later told investigators that Storz had been holding her in the home against her will for multiple days and that he had taken her phone away from her, Sheriff Hunt said.
She further alleged that Storz raped her and abused her both physically and emotionally, WSAZ reported.
The victim’s physical assault claims were corroborated by a medical examination at the hospital, according to Sheriff Hunt.
The sheriff said the wife warned the deputies that Storz had guns inside his house, but that they didn’t know how many firearms he had “or to what extent his training was or if he had any,” WSAZ reported.
Deputies went and picked up the woman’s daughter, who was in a different location at the time of the alleged kidnapping, and took them both to a safe location, WLEX reported.
Meanwhile, an Emergency Protection Order was issued for Storz.
Sheriff Hunt said four deputies went back to the house at about 5 p.m. to serve the order and to arrest the suspect on a fourth-degree physical assault charge, according to WSAZ.
When they arrived, they spotted the suspect through a window after he pulled back the blinds to look out at them, WLEX reported.
Sheriff Hunt said FCSO Deputy William Petry, 60, was the first officer to approach the home, according to WSAZ.
When he reached the front door, Storz came out wearing a ballistic vest and immediately opened fire on him, the sheriff said.
One neighbor told WSAZ she saw the suspect breaking out the front window of his house using the butt of a gun before he began shooting at the officers.
“The suspect opened the door like he had been waiting for them,” Sheriff Hunt told reporters. “He knew they were coming.”
Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley likened the scene to a “war zone” and said it was “raining bullets,” the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“They encountered pure hell,” Sheriff Hunt said. “They had no chance.”
FCSO Deputy Darrin Lawson, who was in the fourth vehicle that arrived to the scene, was “immediately shot” when he pulled up, WSAZ reported.
“Deputy Hall was the third car,” the sheriff told reporters. “Deputy Hall was able to roll out of his car and he was to the rear of the K-9 vehicle driven by Deputy Newsome. Deputy Hall rolled under the car and remained hidden there for hours to come.”
Storz barricaded himself inside a residence after the initial attack and engaged in a gunfight with law enforcement officers from multiple agencies who responded to the scene to assist.
Sheriff Hunt called the mass shooting a “planned event,” according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
“When the deputies put out the call for help, the responding agencies, I guess, just entered the line of fire without even knowing where it was coming from,” the sheriff explained. “We were there for hours before we even knew where it was coming from.”
“He was a sheer terrorist,” Sheriff Hunt told reporters.
Deputy Lawson, Floyd County Constable Gary Wolfe, and Floyd Emergency Management Director Joe Reynolds were also shot during the attack, Sheriff Hunt said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
A fourth officer was also injured, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
Storz walked out of the home at approximately 10 p.m. and was taken into custody.
He was booked into the Pike County Detention Center shortly after 4:30 a.m. on Friday on two counts of murder of a police officer, four counts of attempted murder of a police officer, attempted murder, and one count of first-degree assault on a police animal, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Bartley said additional charges were expected.
The case will ultimately be handled by Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner, who will decide if the case will be handled as a capital crime, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
“Death ain’t good enough for that son a b—h,” Barley told reporters, according to WLEX.
Storz pleaded not guilty on Friday morning.
Floyd County District Judge Eric Hall set his bond at $10 million.
Deputy Petry devoted 31 years of his life to his law enforcement career, according to the Lexington Herald-Leader.
He served the Prestonsburg Police Department (PPD) for 14 years, and worked for the KSP for 15 years prior to joining the FCSO two years ago.
In addition to his duties as a law enforcement officer, Deputy Petry also served as the Martin City Fire Chief, Sheriff Hunt said in a Facebook post on Saturday.
“We have lost a true leader, an excellent officer, a wonderful person and our beloved friend,” the sheriff wrote. “The FCSO will never be the same. Our hearts are broken.”
Deputy Petry leaves behind his wife, two children, and two grandchildren, according to his obituary.
He will be laid to rest on July 5.
Capt. Frasure, 60, served the PPD for nearly four decades, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
He leaves behind his wife of 42 years, Clearnce, three children, and four grandchildren, according to his obituary.
“For thirty-nine years you served with honor and glory up until the last second when you did not go down without a fight,” the PPD said in a Facebook post on July 1. “We love you. Your work here is done. There will never be another.”
Capt. Frasure will be laid to rest on July 6.
Officer Chaffins, 28, was a three-year veteran of the PPD.
He also served on the Prestonsburg Fire Department and was a sergeant in the National Guard, according to his obituary.
Officer Chaffins leaves behind his wife, Savannah, and his young daughter, Paisley.
“You have dedicated your short time on this earth to the service of the citizens of Prestonsburg and the Commonwealth as an EMT, Fire Fighter, and Police Officer,” the PPD said in a Facebook post on July 1. “You further dedicated yourself to the security of our country as a valiant soldier.”
“The lives you’ve saved since you even started policing are innumerable, and that’s how you gave your life – saving another,” the department said. “We will shine your light to Paisley and the world so long as we breathe. Rest yourself, we have the watch.”
Officer Chaffins will be laid to rest on July 7.
K9 Drago, a German shepherd who worked as a narcotics detection K9, served the FCSO for six years, the Lexington Herald-Leader reported.
Two of the officers who were wounded remained hospitalized in stable condition on Saturday, as did the emergency management director, according to the paper.
One officer was treated and released from the hospital, WLEX reported.
Storz’s neighbors said they were stunned by the mass shooting and said the gunman seemed to be a helpful, friendly neighbor, WSAZ reported.
A woman who lives across the street from him said she’d even felt comfortable enough with him to have him watch over her grandchildren in the past.
Resident Larry Short said Storz called him during the standoff, WSAZ reported.
“I said, ‘I hear you’re shooting cops, you’re killing people, why are you doing that?’” Short said. “He wouldn’t tell me why. He did make the comment, ‘Well, you wouldn’t understand.’ Well, no, I don’t understand. That’s for sure. I told him to quit shooting and give yourself up. I don’t want to see you die.”