Teen suspected of killing deputy found dead

Officer Frank Denzinger
Published: .
Updated: .

Jennie Runevitch/Eyewitness News

Edwardsville - A 15-year-old boy who had been arguing with his mother about his marijuana use opened fire on two sheriff's deputies as they arrived at the family's home Monday evening.

Arriving at the house for what they believed to be a routine domestic disturbance, the officers were unaware that they would soon be under attack. Officials in Floyd County say the 15-year-old boy ambushed two sheriff's deputies with a World War II sniper rifle. One of the deputies was killed, the other seriously injured, before the boy killed himself.

State police had identified Tyler Dumstorf as the suspected shooter as they searched for the boy. When officers entered the home shortly after midnight, they found the boy dead on the floor, state police Sgt. Jerry Goodin said.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson says that minutes after the shooting, Dumstorf posted a message on his MySpace page that said, "I just killed two cops. Goodbye."

Henderson says there was nothing to indicate that it was anything more than a routine domestic call, and the officers were talking to the boy's mother and aunt in the driveway when he started firing from an upstairs window.

Henderson says the boy's father bought the gun some time ago and that he and his son used it for target practice.

"These officers were under siege from a sniper rifle and someone, about thirty yards away, someone who knew how to use it," said one Floyd County official. "There was very little cover.  The officers had no recourse. They were sitting ducks."

The two deputies were not able to defend themselves, said a neighbor who saw the shooting but requested anonymity before Dumstorf was found dead because of safety concerns.

"No one was ready for it," he told The Associated Press. The neighbor said the boy also fired at his mother after shooting the deputies, but missed. Loop said the boy's mother was not injured.

Floyd County Prosecutor Keith Henderson says each deputy was struck once in the back. White was able to return fire, while Denzinger did not because his wound was too serious.

"The whole community here should be enraged," Goodin said of the shootings. "There's a lot of us who are heartbroken."

Deputy Frank Denzinger, a four-year veteran of the sheriff's department, died hours after the shooting, Floyd County Sheriff Darrell Mills said. Deputy Joel White, who has been with the department 17 months, was hospitalized in critical condition and has been upgraded to serious.

Denzinger and White went about 6:30 p.m. Monday to the home a few minutes' drive from Interstate 64 about 10 miles west of Louisville, Kentucky, on a report of a confrontation between the boy and his mother, sheriff's Lt. Frank Loop said.

Goodin said officers arrested two people as they conducted their search and investigated the shootings, but he declined to discuss how they were involved.

"I don't have a lot of answers tonight," he said early Tuesday. "There's a lot of questions I still don't have answers to."

Neighbors describe the teen as quiet, and police say the teen's motives are unclear. 

Goodin would not say what might have caused the confrontation or whether officers found a weapon with Dumstorf, but residents evacuated from some 25 nearby homes were allowed to return.

"People can come back to their homes and feel safe again," Goodin said.