Crime

Death of former Madison County police officer is ruled a homicide

State police are investigating the death of a former Madison County police officer as a homicide.

William Keith Johnson, 57, was found dead inside a one-room building where he lived, near a trailer at 399 East Barker Lane in rural Berea, about 9 a.m. Monday.

Preliminary results of an autopsy in Frankfort on Tuesday showed that Johnson died of a single gunshot wound to the head, according to a news release issued by the state police.

Investigators say they think Johnson had been dead for several days when a visitor went to his apartment to check on him Monday. The visitor looked through the windows when Johnson didn't answer and "thought things didn't look alright," Madison County Coroner Jimmy Cornelison said.

The visitor called police, who found Johnson's body. The last time anyone recalled seeing Johnson was last Tuesday or Wednesday, Cornelison said.

Cornelison said Johnson was a former Richmond police officer and had worked at the Lexington airport as an emergency worker.

Johnson had been credited with helping save the lives of a family in a single-engine plane when it crashed at the end of one of the airport's runway, he said. Johnson crashed a fire truck in the process.

Berea police Capt. Ken Clark said he went to school with Johnson and considered him a friend and colleague. Cornelison said many officials in Madison County are affected by his death.

"I've known him for a long time, so I'm just as curious as anybody to find out what happened to him," Cornelison said before the autopsy results were released Tuesday.

State police are asking anyone who had contact with Johnson during the past two weeks to call them at 1-800-222-5555.

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