Local and state law enforcement authorities were still busy at press time Tuesday investigating an apparent murder that occurred sometime Monday in the Snow Community of Clinton County, and eventually resulted in a multi-hour standoff that ended hours later and resulted in another death.
According to multiple reports, Andy Hargis, 36, was found dead outside of the building where he lived in an apartment on the property belonging to Kent Shearer near the Keystone Foods farm on Hwy. 1590.
Shearer’s son, Tyler Shearer, reportedly found Hargis laying on the ground Monday afternoon and called authorities to the scene.
The investigation was immediately turned over to the Kentucky State Police and spokesperson Trooper Billy Gregory of the Columbia Post, told the Clinton County News early Tuesday morning that the agency would not release any information at that time as officers were still following leads in the case.
At about 10:30 a.m. Tuesday, after following several leads that had taken law enforcement officers into various parts of the county, two subjects of interest were encountered at a location just south of Albany near the Ace Hardware.
One subject was reportedly placed into custody, and a male subject then began a standoff with law enforcement that lasted for more than two hours.
Traffic on U.S. 127 was blocked in both directions and a host of law enforcement officers and vehicles, including special tactical units, were parked along the roadside while the standoff continued.
A suspect in the Monday night shooting, was reportedly barricaded inside a residence just to the southwest of Gibson Motors on U.S. 127 during the standoff.
The standoff apparently came to an end at about 2:00 p.m. Tuesday when officers with the Kentucky State Police special tactics unit fired tear gas into the residence where the suspect was holdup.
Trooper Gregory told the Clinton County News it appeared after the firing of the teargas, a male inside the residence had been killed, although at the time, he couldn’t confirm who that person had died.
“Right now, we have to let the tear gas disapate before we can enter the building,” Gregory said, explaining that until the scene had undergone additional investigation, it couldn’t be confirmed if the deceased male was actually a suspect, and if he had been killed by a gunshot fired in a suicide fashion or if someone else had killed him.
At the time of the standoff, authorities were looking for two suspects, including James D. Polston, 38, of Albany.
Earlier reports had indicated that it was Polston who had barricaded himself and was involved in the standoff with law enforcement officers.
The second suspect, according to Gregory, was 22 year-old Randal Wilkerson.
An unknown white female was also being sought in connection with the case.
Clinton County Coroner Steve Talbott told the Clinton County News Tuesday morning that he pronounced Andy Hargis dead at the scene at 5:30 p.m. Monday.
Talbott said the scene was obviously a homicide and that the victim had been shot multiple times, likely with a handgun.
Clinton County Disaster and Emergency Services Director and Deputy Coroner Lonnie Scott told the Clinton County News that the call came in to Clinton County Dispatch at about 4:30 p.m.
Scott and Talbott both said the victim’s body had been transported to Frankfort where an autopsy will be conducted.
The scene where the investigation was centered was near a garage type building located close to the residence on the property.
Hargis, who lived in an apartment inside the garage building, worked as a caretaker on the property for Shearer, according to officials involved with the investigation.
As the investigation continued Tuesday morning and authorities were reportedly searching for a suspect and a possible witness to the crime, the local schools went on a heightened alert security level.
Clinton County High School Principal Sheldon Harlan confirmed that the schools were, in fact, keeping an extra close eye on the exterior doors and surrounding campuses, but he added that the situation did not call for a “lock-down” of the buildings as some earlier reports had indicated.
“When we go on lock down, we chain the doors, turn out the lights and put all the kids in the corner of a room,” Harlan said. “We are not on lock down, but I have made the students aware of the situation and the teachers are double checking the doors between classes.”
Other than beefing up supervision, Harlan said the school is going to resume its regular day.
“We are still loading students up and going to the vocational school just like normal,” Harlan said. “We are performing basic precautions in order to keep the students and the building safe.”