(PIKEVILLE, Ky.) — A man accused of fatally shooting three Kentucky law enforcement officers in an ambush last year has died while in custody awaiting trial for murder, authorities said.
The suspect, Lance Storz, died from an apparent suicide, prosecutors said.
Storz was being held in Pike County Detention Center without bail on 20 counts, including three counts of murder and seven counts of attempted murder, in connection with the June 2022 mass shooting at his home in Floyd County.
He was found unresponsive around 6:37 a.m. local time Tuesday and was transported to a local hospital, where he was pronounced dead, Pikeville Police said.
The death is under investigation by Pikeville Police Department, Kentucky State Police and Pike County Coroner’s Office.
Autopsy results are pending, a Pikeville Police spokesperson told ABC News Wednesday.
The Pike County Detention Center told ABC News it is awaiting an update on the police investigation before issuing a statement.
ABC News did not immediately receive a response from Storz’s attorney to a message seeking comment.
Storz was accused of fatally shooting three officers and a police K-9, as well as injuring several others during a violent ambush at his home in Allen. A barricaded shootout occurred after Floyd County sheriff’s deputies arrived to serve an emergency protective order in a domestic violence case, authorities said. Storz was armed with a rifle, according to an arrest citation.
Floyd County Sheriff John Hunt said in the wake of the shooting that it seemed planned.
The slain officers were Floyd County Deputy William Petry, Prestonsburg Police Capt. Ralph Frasure and Prestonsburg Police canine handler Jacob Chaffins.
Storz had pleaded not guilty in the case and was next scheduled to appear in court on March 23 for a pretrial conference, online court records show.
Brent Turner, the commonwealth attorney for Floyd County whose office was prosecuting the case, said in a statement to ABC News that had it gone to trial, they would have been seeking the death penalty, though added it is unlikely it would have been carried out if Storz had been convicted.
“So the only way he would ever have been put to death was if he did it himself and it appears that he has done that,” Turner said in a statement.
“I know the victims’ families will have mixed emotions and may, on some level, feel cheated by this. But in the end it will probably be to their benefit,” the statement continued. “Lance Storz is gone from this earth and the families will not be forced to endure a painful trial and the decades of appeals and uncertainty that come with a death sentence had he received one.”
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