When sheriff’s deputies showed up at the home of 49-year-old Lance Storz in Floyd County on Thursday, they were there to investigate an alleged sexual assault, according to local officials.
What they ran into instead was described by a local official as a “war zone.” Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said Storz seemed to be waiting for his deputies and opened fire on them without warning.
Storz is accused of killing two law enforcement officers and leaving a third in grave condition. Several others were injured. The standoff wound up lasting hours, according to Floyd County Attorney Keith Bartley, who was at the scene. Several agencies showed up to try to help local officers, including Kentucky State Police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
“They encountered pure hell,” Hunt said. “They had no chance.”
Bartley said “it was raining bullets” at the scene. He said the sounds of gunfire indicated that multiple weapons were being used, and some of them sounded like high-velocity firearms.
“If that’s not a war zone, I don’t know what is,” Bartley said.
During the hourslong standoff, law enforcement officers made attempts to talk to and negotiate with Storz, according to local officials. Family members also got involved in an effort to get him to surrender. Court records indicate that two police officers and one police K9 were killed in the shooting. Five additional police officers and one emergency management director were also injured.
Bartley said one of the injured officers was revived and placed on life support. That officer was in grave condition, Bartley said.
Some of the officers may have been injured by shrapnel while others suffered gunshot wounds, Hunt said.
One officer had to crawl underneath his cruiser to avoid a barrage of gunfire, according to Hunt. The K9 killed was in the back of that car, Hunt said.
Storz was eventually taken into custody after he walked out of the home, according to Kentucky State Police.
He’s facing two charges of murder of a police officer, four counts of attempted murder of a police officer, one additional count of attempted murder and one count of assault on a service animal, according to court records
Storz was arraigned in Floyd County District Court Friday morning, where District Judge Eric Hall entered a not guilty plea on his behalf and set his bond at $10 million.
Bartley, who was emotional after the arraignment, said more charges are expected to be filed.
“These are people with children and spouses, moms and dads,” Bartley said of the officers killed and wounded. “Their worlds will never be the same.”
Bartley’s office will handle prosecution in the case until it moves to circuit court. He said the murder of a police officer is a capital offense, but it would be up to Commonwealth’s Attorney Brent Turner to decide whether to prosecute the case as a capital crime.
The names of the officers killed in the shooting haven’t been released. The investigation into the shooting is ongoing, and state police say their Critical Incident Response Team is working on the case.
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