A Kentucky State Police trooper shot and killed a Breathitt County man late Monday after the man lunged at the officer with a knife, according to a news release.
Police identified the dead man as Earl Joseph Prater, 42, of Jackson.
Preliminary results from an autopsy Tuesday show Prater died of a gunshot wound to the chest, and he also was shot in the side, said Mitch Smith, a deputy coroner in Breathitt County.
The shooting happened after Trooper Chris Hollon went to a house in Smith Branch about 10 p.m. Monday to investigate a report that Prater had stolen a vehicle, according to a news release and Trooper Tony Watts, spokesman for the state police post in Hazard.
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Prater had parked the car at his parents' house and gone into the woods, Watts said.
When Hollon arrived, Prater came into the yard carrying an ax and would not comply with Hollon's command to put it down, Watts said.
Hollon used his Taser on Prater. Prater dropped the ax, then pulled out a large knife and started cutting himself, according to a news release.
Hollon told Prater to drop the knife, but Prater again refused to cooperate. Instead, he pointed the knife at Hollon and lunged at the trooper, state police said.
Hollon then shot Prater. He was pronounced dead at Kentucky River Medical Center. Hollon was not physically injured.
State police are continuing to investigate the shooting.