An Ohio State University student allegedly kidnapped by the father of her child was fatally shot by her abductor after a high-speed chase spanning multiple counties in Kentucky, police said.
Kentucky State Police Commissioner Rick Sanders confirmed the bullet that killed Skylar Williams was fired from a gun recovered from inside the vehicle that police tailed for more than 20 miles late Monday afternoon.
The chase unfolded just before 4 p.m. in Northern Kentucky, after authorities in Gallatin County received a tip “about a distressed female at a gas station” being forced into vehicle “described as a dark colored Dodge Caravan with a Quebec registration plate,” according to a police press release.
“Female attempted to escape from the vehicle — black male pulled her back into the car,” a dispatcher can be heard saying in police scanner traffic.
State troopers spotted the van traveling southbound on I-71 in neighboring Henry County and attempted to initiate a traffic stop. The driver, later identified as 24-year-old Ty’Rell Pounds, failed to yield for authorities, sparking a chase that continued for 20 minutes.
Toward the end of the police pursuit, the driver was “weaving in and out of traffic” and going “100 miles per hour,” an Oldham County dispatcher said.
Kentucky State Police said they attempted to use stop sticks on two occasions in an effort to end the chase, but it didn’t conclude until officers forced Pounds’ vehicle to spin out as he tried to re-enter the highway in Oldham County.
”While attempting to apprehend the suspect the trooper heard a gunshot coming from within the vehicle which he perceived as an immediate deadly threat to himself and the female passenger,” state police said in a press release.
The officer — identified as Joey Brown — then fired off several rounds, striking and killing Pounds, who was wearing a bullet proof vest at the time. He also attempted to provide first aid to Williams, who later died at the Louisville Hospital
Sanders described Brown, a five-year veteran of the state police, as an “exemplary trooper” who has never faced any disciplinary action. He was placed on administrative leave amid an investigation into the fatal confrontation.
Earlier on Monday, police said Pounds abducted Williams from Ohio State University’s campus at gunpoint around 11:45 a.m. Sanders said authorities in Kentucky “knew nothing about the occurrence in Ohio when this pursuit began.”
The only information they had at the time was from a tipster who spotted the pair at a Valero gas station in Gallatin County, Sanders added. Kelly Mayhew, a clerk who was working at the time, recalled the moment he and his customers realized Williams was in distress.
“They pulled into pump one in a little gray minivan,” he told Wave 3 News. “And he came around and helped her out of the car and brought her into the station.”
Mayhew said Pounds paid $20 cash for gas while Williams used the restroom, but that he didn’t “say a word.”
When the pair were getting ready to leave the store, he said Williams mouthed the words “help me” to a woman nearby, who immediately phoned 911.
“He didn’t pump his gas,” Mayhew said. “And I had another customer calling 911 before he started sprawling his tires. I guess that was the reason he was in a hurry.”
The abduction Monday came after Pounds penned a startling post on his Facebook page, seemingly written to the son he shared with Williams.
“Your mother kept me away from you and I was fighting for you through the court system,” one portion reads. “You mother kept teasing me and I got overwhelmed, I’m so sorry you have to grow up without us baby!! But we’ll be watching you trust me.”
Pounds’ roommate told authorities the parents were going through custody issues. The pair reportedly have had a rocky relationship, with Williams accusing Pounds of sexual assault in September 2018 as well as in a police report from Jan. 3, 2019. According to Fox 8, she told authorities that her ex-boyfriend pulled up behind her in a gas station despite an order of protection she had taken out against him.