LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — A Louisville police officer died Wednesday from injuries he suffered in a crash during a high-speed chase, city officials said.
Louisville Mayor Greg Fischer and Police Chief Steve Conrad announced the death of Officer Nick Rodman at a news conference outside University Hospital, where lines of officers and others waited as his flag-draped body left the hospital.
After the wreck Tuesday evening, other officers pulled Rodman from his burning vehicle and took him directly to the hospital, Conrad told reporters.
The suspect, who was not identified, was involved in the wreck and remains at the same hospital. Conrad said he would be booked on charges including murder, domestic violence assault, wanton endangerment and fleeing police after he is released.
Rodman underwent several surgeries but died at 3:40 p.m. Wednesday, Conrad said.
"Nick is a hero. He will never be forgotten," the chief said, his voice breaking.
Fischer said Rodman's father and brother are also with the police department. "The Rodmans are one of our great LMPD police families," he said.
Rodman is also survived by his wife and two children, including a newborn daughter, the mayor said. Police department spokesman Lamont Washington said in an email that Rodman was hired in December 2013.
Fischer said flags would be lowered to half-staff at city buildings and a ceremony in honor of Rodman would be held at 10 a.m. Thursday downtown.
Conrad said the chase began after police received several calls about shots being fired and arguing in a neighborhood west of downtown. The first officer who responded put out a description of the vehicle, which was spotted several blocks away by an officer who tried to stop it, Conrad said.
The driver fled, leading that officer and three others on a high-speed pursuit, Conrad said. The wreck occurred as Rodman attempted to join the chase, Conrad said. He called it a "violent and severe collision."
Gov. Matt Bevin and U.S. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky were among the leaders expressing sadness at Rodman's death.
"We are heartbroken for his family, his friends, and the Louisville Metro Police Department at the news of this devastating loss," Bevin said in a statement on his Facebook page.
McConnell's office issued a statement saying "Officer Rodman followed in a strong family tradition of law enforcement, and his life displayed the best virtues of public service."