PIKEVILLE, Ky. — Kentucky State Police are looking for a man they want to question in connection to Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton's murder.
Police are looking for 55-year-old John Russell Hall as a person of interest. He is also wanted for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon. He is from Hurricane Rd. in Pikeville, which is where the shooting took place late Tuesday night. Hall is considered armed and dangerous.
Pikeville Police Officer Scotty Hamilton's body was returned to town Wednesday afternoon during an emotional procession for the town and his fellow officers.
Hamilton, a 12-year veteran of the department, was fatally shot during an incident late Tuesday night in the Hurricane Creek area. He leaves behind a wife and small child.
Meanwhile, the search remains underway for the shooting suspect. Kentucky State Police originally reported at least one person was in custody, however, that arrest and three others at the scene of the shooting were on unrelated charges.
"It’s not an easy thing to sit here and do, especially seeing that procession," Kentucky State Police Public Affairs Officer Jody Sims said during a news conference Wednesday afternoon. "The prayers (from the community and on social media) -- those go a long way with lifting spirits."
Hamilton was investigating the scene late Tuesday night with KSP Trooper Matt Martin just before he was shot. The pair was conducting a criminal patrol on Hurricane Creek when they encountered suspicious vehicle.
Sims said it was in an area of known drug-trafficking incidents, and the officers were there maintaining a presence. He said as many as four people were arrested in that area on warrants, but it is not believed they were directly involved with the shooting.
According to KSP, Hamilton and Martin separated during the search, and Hamilton went up an embankment. Shortly afterward, Martin heard gunshots fired nearby a home. He found Hamilton, who had been fatally shot. He was pronounced dead at the scene by the Pike County Coroner’s Office.
Sims said Hamilton suffered at least one gunshot wound to the head. As many as three gunshots were heard. No firearm was located at the scene.
Pikeville Police and KSP troopers continue looking for the shooting suspect. They have been using critical response teams in that search, including a helicopter.
Meanwhile, a candlelight memorial in Hamilton's memory is scheduled at 8 p.m. Thursday, March 15 at the Eastern Kentucky Exposition Center Billy Johnson Stage.