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Police catch robber in the act

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By Stephen Thomas

SHEPHERDSVILLE – A Bullitt County man is in custody after allegedly trying to rob the same business twice within one week.

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And two Shepherdsville police officers are on paid administrative leave that is customary when a shooting is involved.

According to SPD Sgt. Ken Bernardi, the suspect was transported to University of Louisville Hospital with a gunshot wound that was not life-threatening.

John O. Hall, 36, of Shepherdsville, was shot by SPD Det. Steve Clark following an armed robbery attempt at the Cash Express store located at 274 Highway 44 East Thursday morning.

Bernardi said detectives received information from Louisville Metro Police that similar robberies had occurred in Jefferson County with Hall returning to the location within a week.

They believed Hall was the suspect in another robbery at the Cash Express on Feb. 6.

“Louisville Metro said the suspect would come back,” said Bernardi. “We set up surveillance and he showed up.”

Detectives identified Hall entering the business and witnessed him in the act of robbery.

After making certain he did not have hostages, detectives confronted Hall when he left.

Hall fled on foot across Highway 44 East toward the Family Dollar shopping center. Clark and Det. Layne Troutman pursued on foot.

A bystander leaving another business noticed Hall and made an attempt to tackle him, Bernardi said.

When Hall brandished his weapon, the bystander stopped.

Hall continued around the east side of the building toward a vehicle parked behind RK Barbecue and More.

According to Bernardi, Clark and Troutman pursued around the building.     Clark fired a single shot at Hall, who was at the vehicle. The bullet struck Hall’s left cheek.

Rob Combest, owner of RK Barbecue, said he saw an individual run past the restaurant’s front door. He later heard the gunshot near the back entrance.

“I knew not to open that door,” he said.

SPD and Bullitt County Sheriffs units responded to the scene, along with Bullitt County EMS. Bernardi said the scene was controlled in about two minutes.

“Essentially everything went as well as it could,” he said.

Louisville Metro detectives later arrived to assist in the investigation.

Bernardi said Hall had the bullet removed at University Thursday afternoon. On Thursday evening he was released from the hospital and immediately transported to SPD headquarters for questioning. Bernardi said Hall was very cooperative in the interview.

Hall was charged in Shepherdsville with two counts of robbery first-degree, three counts of wanton endangerment first-degree, fleeing or evading police first-degree (on foot) and possession of a handgun by a convicted felon. Each charge was set with a $250,000 cash bond.

Bernardi said Hall likely faced further charges in Louisville.

Both Clark and Troutman were placed on administrative leave following the incident.

“That’s pretty standard procedure across the country,” Bernardi said, adding that officers may receive time off duty following high-stress situations.

Anyone with further information on Hall or the attempted robbery should contact the Shepherdsville Police, 957-1001, or the anonymous tip line, (502) 215-1588.