Voice Staff Report
Shots rang out Thursday morning just after 10:30 am in down town Whitley City. KSP Trooper Craig Reed attempted to arrest Christopher A. Phillips, 35 years old of Pine Knot, KY, who was wanted on felony charges. During the attempted arrest, Phillips shot at Trooper Reed. The Trooper returned fire and shots were exchanged with Phillips running to the area behind the United Cumberland Bank toward the Whitley City Fire Department.
At the same time Missy Strunk was in the drive through lane at United Cumberland Bank and recounts what she heard and saw.
“Mom and I were at the drive through at United Cumberland Bank with the windows down. We heard two sound-pop, pop. Mom thought it was firecrackers going off, but I thought it sounded like a gun. We looked and saw Officer Craig Reed facing a man. We saw Craig shoot. Then we lost sight of them after they went into the First Baptist parking lot. Afterwards, Mom drove us over there to make sure everything was okay. I couldn’t believe it was happening.”
Hunter Troxell also became an inadvertent witness when he pulled into the road between the Fire Department and Church. This is Hunter Troxell’s account of what he saw.
“I pulled off Hwy 27 into the parking lot between the Fire Department and Church. I saw this guy running and didn’t know who he was. Then, I saw Officer Craig Reed running behind him. They were running from the bank toward Hwy 27. I decided to pull back up between the First Baptist Church and Hometown Furniture near where I was going to be working sealing the Church parking lot. I parked and heard a sound like a gunshot….I thought maybe it was a taser. I saw the guy run between the buildings at the Church near the double doors. Craig came around, and I hollered at Craig and told him the guy was between the buildings. Then, the guy comes back out running. He got probably eight to ten feet away from me. His foot got off the curb and he stepped into a mud hole. Then he fell and lost his gun. The gun slid across Williamsburg Street-I guess that’s the name of the road. I ran and grabbed the gun while Craig got to the guy before he could get up. I didn’t even realize the guy had a gun in his hand because I hadn’t seen it. I’m just glad I wasn’t involved. I went back to work and later they came out to interview me. Trooper Craig Reed shook my hand and thanked me. A lot of the other troopers did, too.”
Sheriff Randy Waters and Deputy Tom Smith immediately responded to the 911 call and arrived as Trooper Reed was apprehending Phillips. Both officers helped Trooper Reed load Phillips into the back of the Sheriff’s car and transported him to the Sheriff’s office where he was held until Detective Billy Correll could conduct an interview.
Both Phillips and the trooper were uninjured in the shooting. Phillips is charged with Attempted Murder of a Police Officer, Possession of a stolen firearm, fleeing and evading 1st degree and resisting arrest and lodged in the Knox County Detention Center.
The Kentucky State Police, London Post is investigating the Officer involved shooting and being led by Lieutenant Tony Dingess and Detective Billy Correll. Both were assisted at the scene by Post 11 Personnel, The Kentucky State Police Critical Incident Response Team, the McCreary County Sheriff’s Office, The Whitley City Fire Department and McCreary EMS.