Police:Kentucky suspect wanted a smoke, pulled gun and murdered veteran deputy instead


BENTON, KY – A veteran Kentucky lawman paid the ultimate price while extending a courtesy to a suspect last month, according to the Kentucky State Police following its investigation into a fatal incident outside the Marshall County Sheriff’s Office.

Gary Rowland, 30, used a hidden gun May 16 to shoot and kill Calloway County Sheriff’s Office Chief Deputy Jody Cash, 44, who took him outside to smoke a cigarette after he was arrested, said the KSP Critical Incident Response Team, which investigates officer-involved shootings statewide.

The tragedy is a sobering reminder that criminals are opportunistic and often lack a conscience.

The Marshall County Special Response Team, which is made up of multiple agencies, arrested Rowland in Benton on outstanding warrants, including for absconding from parole and drug and gun-related crimes.

Investigators said Rowland was taken to the Sheriff’s Office where he was interviewed by MCSO Deputy Donald Bowman and Chief Deputy Cash. Both served as part of a U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration Task Force.

The KSP investigators said that during the interview, Rowland asked if he could smoke a cigarette. Both deputies took Rowland outside in front of the sheriff’s office where Rowland pulled out a gun and shot Chief Deputy Cash.

Both Deputy Bowman and MCSO Deputy Brandon Little shot and mortally wounded Rowland, according to KSP.  Both Chief Deputy Cash and the criminal were pronounced dead at Marshall County Hospital.


Investigators did not address where Rowland concealed the gun or how the firearm went undetected during his arrest. Marshall County Sheriff Eddie McGuire said changes to protocol will be made as a result of the shooting.

The KSP issued a statement June 3 following the investigation. It said, in part:

“While smoking, Mr. Rowland produced a handgun, which had been concealed on his person, firing it in the direction of and striking [Calloway County Sheriff’s Chief Deputy Jody Cash].” 

Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear had ordered flags at all state buildings to be lowered to half-staff from sunrise to sunset on May 21 to honor Chief Deputy Cash. He said at the time:

“This deputy has paid the ultimate sacrifice today while serving our commonwealth. Let us honor the life, bravery and service of this deputy.”

KSP says both Deputy Bowman and Deputy Little were placed on administrative leave following the incident, as is standard policy. Deputy Bowman is a 27-year law enforcement veteran and has served with the MCSO since 2019. Deputy Little is a four-year MCSO veteran.

Chief Deputy Jody Cash was a 22-year law enforcement veteran and had served with the Calloway County Sheriff’s Office since 2020. He had served eight years with the Kentucky State Police before retiring in 2018 at the rank of Sergeant. He served six years at Murray State University Police Department, achieving the rank of Assistant Chief, and six years at the Caldwell County Sheriff’s Office.


Police: Career criminal who shot deputy twice in the chest, then in the arm arrested after Blue Alert was issued

March 17, 2021

BASTROP, TX – Deputy Sawyer Wilson was shot twice in the chest on Sunday night at a gas station. He was also shot in the forearm, shattering the bone. Fortunately, Deputy Wilson was wearing a protective vest. Sheriff Maurice Cook said:

“The vest did what it was supposed to do.”

He was taken to the hospital where he is recovering. Wilson has been with the Bastrop County Sheriff’s office for about two years.

Originally responding to a criminal mischief call in the area, Wilson spotted a vehicle with a mattress in the rear, matching the description of the vehicle from the initial call.

Wilson confronted the driver, which is when 33-year-old Michael Stark opened fire on the deputy, hitting him three times. It is unknown how many rounds were fired after there were bullet holes found in the building at the gas station.

After shooting Wilson, Stark fled the scene, running into the wood nearby. With the suspect on foot rather than in a vehicle, authorities did not issue a “blue alert,” but they did initiate a manhunt.

Multiple agencies then devoted resources, including the Texas Department of Public Safety, Austin Police Department, Hays County Sheriff’s Office, La Grange Police Department and of course, Bastrop County Sheriff’s Office. The departments even sent up helicopters, drones and a plane equipped with thermal imaging to help track the suspect.

Stark, who Cook said has been arrested roughly two dozen times, was also wanted for a parole violation. Cook said that they are working on the charges to file in regard to the events of Sunday night.

A neighbor alerted authorities after seeing Stark walking down the street roughly 3 miles from the site of the shooting. Law enforcement was able to find him and took him into custody, ending what Cook referred to as a “massive manhunt.”

Stark is now being held on $2M bond.

According to KWTX Waco, jail records do not list an attorney representing Stark.

KXAN also reported that efforts are under way to provide assistance to Deputy Wilson and his family.

“The 100 Club of Central Texas is fundraising for Wilson’s family through its Critically Injured Fund. It’s used to help ‘ease some of this burden so Sawyer and his loved ones can focus on his recovery.’ To donate, go to the 100 Club’s website or text ‘100clubcentex’ to 44321. You can also mail a donation to the club at 3200 Steck Ave. Suite 240, Austin, Texas 78757 or call at 512-345-3200.”

Texas Gov. Greg Abbott released a statement on Monday. He said:

“Our hearts are with Deputy Sawyer Wilson as he recovers from injuries sustained while protecting his fellow Texans in Bastrop County.” 

“Selfless heroes like Deputy Wilson put their lives at risk every day to serve their communities, and the State of Texas is ready to provide all resources necessary to bring the perpetrator to justice. I ask that all Texans join the First Lady and me in lifting up Deputy Wilson and his family in prayer as he begins his journey to recovery.”

Hopefully, Stark remains in jail until his trial and is unable to get back on the streets. Sadly, we know that isn’t always the case.

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