A Lewisburg man was shot and killed by police after he first shot his ex-girlfriend in the McDonald’s drive-through line on Tuesday
According to the Kentucky State Police, who are in charge of the investigation, 34-year-old Joseph R. Harris pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot around lunch time and shot his former girlfriend, Amanda Harper, 28, of Russellville, who was waiting in the drive-through line in her vehicle.
Harris then fled the scene on foot. Harper left the parking lot in her vehicle and pulled across North Main Street where she then exited the roadway and struck a building.
She was transported to the Medical Center in Bowling Green by Logan County EMS where she is being treated for a single gunshot wound to the upper body and is listed in stable condition.
Harris then walked north on Main Street where he encountered responding Russellville Police Department Sergeant Morris Kisselbaugh and officers Stephen Meredith and Seth Whittaker, who had previously been having lunch at Subway when they got the call.
Upon being challenged by police, Harris brandished a firearm towards the officers, according to the KSP. At this point, all three officers fired at Harris and he was struck approximately three times. Harris was pronounced dead at the scene by the Logan County Coroner Mary Givens. His body was transported for an autopsy at the Medical Examiner’s Office in Louisville.
Vanna Krang, 48 of Russellville, was inside the Russellville Donut shop across from where Harris was shot. Krang was struck once in the neck by gunfire. He was flown to TriStar Skyline Medical Center in Nashville. According to Logan County Sheriff Wallace Whittaker, Krang was released from the hospital on Wednesday.
Just 10 days before the shooting, Harris was arrested and jailed for breaking into Harper’s home. According to arrest reports, at the time he broke into her home, he also threatened to shoot her.
According to the report, Harper called 911 on March 5 and reported that Harris had unlawfully entered her home while she was in the shower and her child was in the living room of the residence.
In the report, Harper stated that Harris said he “ought to beat her head in.” Harper then stated that Harris left to go toward his truck where “she knows him to keep a loaded firearm.”
According to the March 5 report, Harris took Harper’s cell phone while he was leaving her home, after which “he made a reference to shooting her” while walking to his vehicle.
In the report, Meredith confirmed that the chain to the front door was broken. When he made contact with Harris, Meredith then seized a loaded Kel-Tec (.380) pistol in his jeans pocket. Harper’s cell phone, which was reported as stolen, was found in Harris’s vehicle.
Harris was lodged in the Logan County Detention Center on charges of first degree burglary and carrying a concealed deadly weapon.
He spent just over 24 hours in jail before being released on March 6 on a $10,000 cash bond.
Harris also had a charge of domestic violence on his record. He was arrested in 2009 on a domestic violence charge against his then mother-in-law, Judy Bryant.
According to the arrest report in September 2009, Harris was arrested by Lewisburg Police Chief Alan Alsup and charged with assault fourth degree-domestic violence for throwing his mother-in-law down in the parking lot of the T-Mart.
The report stated that Alsup received a complaint of disturbance in progress at the T-Mart. Upon Alsup’s arrival, Harris had stated that he and his wife at the time had separated and he was picking his daughter up. He further stated that his mother-in-law tried to stop him and he threw her to the ground. Bryant made the same statement.
Harris received a deferred prosecution order from the judge with the stipulation that he stay out of trouble for one year. He was not arrested again until March 5 this year.
All three police officers that were place on paid administrative leave following the incident.
“The Russellville Police Department would like to first say that we are deeply saddened by the events that occurred in Russellville on March 15th, 2016,” RPD chief Victor Shifflett said. “Our thoughts and prayers go out to the family members of the victims and to our officers and their families. The investigation has been turned over to the Kentucky State Police as a matter of protocol when officers are involved in an incident like this and we are cooperating and assisting in every way possible. All three officers are presently on paid administrative leave pending the completion of the investigation. The Russellville Police Department is and will continue to provide service to the citizens of Russellville as always. It is unfortunate that this has occurred but as an agency must continue on as normal.”