SCOTT COUNTY, Ky. (LEX 18)– The Scott County Sheriff’s Office says an investigation has concluded that Deputy Jaime Morales’ injury was the result of a round fired from a law enforcement weapon.
On September 11, 2018, The US Marshall’s Service contacted dispatch in Scott County asking for help apprehending a serial bank robber named Edward Reynolds.
Scott County deputies responded to the location at an I-75 Northbound rest stop in an attempt to locate Reynolds. As the deputies approached the vehicle, police say Reynolds attempted to flee using his vehicle. Police say that law enforcement gave commands for Reynolds to surrender. They say with all means of escape blocked, Reynolds armed himself with a handgun and pointed the weapon at officers.
In response, multiple officers from the Georgetown Police Department and Scott County Sheriff’s Office began shooting.
Reynolds was fatally shot.
Morales was struck by a single round during the incident and was rushed to the University of Kentucky Medical Center.
On March 7, 2019, Kentucky State Police presented the findings of their investigation to a Scott County Grand Jury. On March 15, 2019, the sheriff’s office said Commonwealth Attorney Sharon Muse released the findings of the investigation to KSP and the agencies involved.
“The Scott County Grand Jury convened on the 7th day of March 2019 to investigate the officer involved shooting that occurred in Scott County September 11, 2018. After the completion of your thorough and detailed investigation the grand jury determined not to move forward with any charges,” said Muse.
On March 19, 2019, KSP briefed the Georgetown Police Department and the Scott County Sheriff’s Office on the investigation.
The investigation did not determine from which weapon the specific round that hit Morales was fired. The investigation did conclude that “while Reynolds presented a deadly threat toward officers, he was incapacitated before he could actually fire his weapon.”
The Scott County Sheriff’s Office and Georgetown Police Department released a statement on Facebook saying they “could not be any more grateful for the support this community has shown to Deputy Morales during this difficult time. All the officers present that night were performing their duty in a tense and uncertain environment while attempting to apprehend a dangerous individual. The criminal actions of Mr. Reynolds lead to the need of law enforcement to take him into custody for the safety of the general public. Mr. Reynolds then made the encounter a deadly force issue by raising his handgun and pointing it at the officers. Had Mr. Reynolds survived the encounter he would have been charged with multiple crimes including Assault in the First Degree for the injuries suffered by Deputy Morales.”
Sheriff Tony Hampton and Chief Mike Bosse end the Facebook post asking for the continued support and prayers for Morales and the departments.
Morales’ injury left him paralyzed, but it did not crush his spirits. The former Marine is adapting to the changes in his life and he is setting goals for the future.
“I kinda had to set some new ones, but as of right now, to get back on my feet, if possible, and eventually go back to work, hopefully as a police officer,” Morales told LEX 18. “And if not, then I’ll make the best of the situation.”
There was a large response from the community after Morales was injured. Several fundraisers were held for Morales with the official hashtag #217Strong. His badge number is 217.
Many people lined the deputy’s route home from the hospital to show him respect.
Lexington Police Officer Ryan Holland also organized an effort to build Morales a new home to accommodate his injuries. The plans for the home are complete and the “Building a home for #217” Facebook page said that the road to the home will begin to be paved the third week of May if weather permits.