Police search for shooter who killed Pikeville police officer as community mourns

Police officers salute as Scotty Hamilton’s flag-draped casket is taken to a funeral home in downtown Pikeville.
Police officers salute as Scotty Hamilton’s flag-draped casket is taken to a funeral home in downtown Pikeville.

Kentucky State Police searched Wednesday for a person suspected of shooting and killing a Pikeville policeman Tuesday night as the Eastern Kentucky community mourned the fallen officer.

Scotty Hamilton was killed after responding to a call with Kentucky State Police in the Hurricane community around 11:30 p.m., the city said. He had been a member of the police department since 2006.

According to state police, Hamilton and Trooper Matt Martin were patrolling the area when they saw a suspicious vehicle. The officers spoke with people in the vehicle and then separated as they searched around a nearby residence for someone on foot.

After hearing gunshots, Martin found Hamilton close to the residence with a fatal gunshot wound, police said. The shooter escaped.

Hamilton was pronounced dead at the scene.

KSP spokesman William Petry said police arrested four people who were at the scene on charges unrelated to the shooting, and that police are searching for the suspected shooter.

Officer Scotty Hamilton was shot and killed Tuesday night in Pikeville. Photo provided by the J.W. Call and Son Funeral Home

Hamilton is survived by a wife and one child.

“Wherever I’ve seen Officer Hamilton, whoever he was with, whatever he was doing, he always took the time to shake my hand and ask me how I was doing,” said James Maynard, who worked with Hamilton at the City of Pikeville 911 Public Safety Center. “He was more than a stand-up class act. He was a man’s man. A true American hero.”

Maynard said Hamilton loved to spend his free time riding ATVs on trails with his friends and family.

Flags outside the Pikeville Police Department and the Pikeville Fire Department were placed at half-staff Wednesday in honor of Hamilton.

Dozens of people gathered along Hambley Boulevard in downtown Pikeville to watch and pay their respects Wednesday afternoon as Hamilton’s body was transported to the J.W. Call Funeral Home.

A fire truck hoisted an American flag as police cars filed underneath during the procession.

Police officers, firefighters and others stood saluting as Hamilton’s flag-draped casket was carried into the funeral home.

Scotty Hamilton played football at Shelby Valley High School. Photo provided by Jason Akers

“Scotty got along with everybody,” said Jason Akers, a friend of Hamilton’s who also worked in law enforcement. “We spent the majority of our time laughing together.”

Akers recalled going to ball games with Hamilton and being “literally sore from laughing the next day.”

“Scotty’s the type of guy, if he runs across somebody who’s homeless on the street, he would buy them a hotel room and get them something hot to eat,” Akers said. “He was just a terrific guy.”

Hamilton loved his wife and child “more than life itself,” Akers said.

Anyone with information about the shooting is asked to contact the Pikeville Police Department at (606) 437-5111 or the Kentucky State Police Post 9 at (606) 433-7711.

Hamilton’s funeral will be at the East Kentucky Expo Center in Pikeville at 1 p.m. Sunday. Two visitations are also scheduled, one for 5 p.m. Friday and another for noon Saturday, both at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

A candlelight vigil will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday, also at the East Kentucky Expo Center.

Will Wright is a corps member with Report for America, an initiative of The GroundTruth Project. Reach him at 859-270-9760, @​HLWright

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