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Man charged with shooting Hermann officers was lying about identity before pulling gun, probable cause statement says

The probable cause statement said Simpson lied about his identity and fired multiple shots before Griffith and Sullentrup could draw their weapons.

HERMANN, Mo. — The police officers who were shot in Hermann, Missouri, Sunday night were trying to take Kenneth Lee Simpson into custody on active warrants when he shot them, according to court documents.

According to a probable cause statement filed by a trooper with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Simpson lied about his identity and fired multiple shots before Detective Sgt. Mason Griffith and Officer Adam Sullentrup could draw their weapons.

The trooper wrote that Griffith and Sullentrup were called to Casey's General Store at 115 Highway 19 for a report of an irate person. When they arrived, they found Simpson, who they thought they recognized.

After running a check and determining he had six active warrants, they approached him and called out to him by saying "Kenny," the trooper said in the report.

When the officers asked for an ID, Simpson said he didn't have one and told them his name was Justin. After talking a little longer, he told the officers his name was Justin, and he eventually "became agitated, and more defensive, and started pacing," according to the probable cause statement.

The trooper said Sullentrup eventually went to his patrol vehicle and returned with a photo of Simpson on his phone. When Simpson denied it was him, Griffith took out his handcuffs and told Simpson he was under arrest.

The probable cause statement said that's when Simpson turned away from the officers, pulled out a .40 caliber handgun and shot at the officers multiple times.

Video footage of the incident showed neither of the officers had their weapons drawn when Simpson shot them, according to the probable cause statement. Griffith returned fire while Simpson was trying to get out of the store.

Simpson was arrested Monday after an hours-long standoff at a home near the shooting.

The trooper interviewed Simpson after Simpson was taken into custody. 

According to the probable cause statement, Simpson told the trooper he didn't want to kill anyone but himself and he "tried to give them the chance to shoot him, and his reactions turned into a fight or flight situation," according to the probable cause statement.

Simpson was charged Tuesday with one count of each first-degree murder, first-degree assault and unlawful possession of a firearm. He is also charged with two counts of armed criminal action. He is being held without bond in Gasconade County, where he pleaded not guilty.

According to online court documents, a preliminary hearing was scheduled for March 20.

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