Sergeant shot, killed while stopping to assist motorist in Nevada; Suspect caught with possible explosives

Composite image of Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Jenkins who was shot and killed on March 27, 2020, near Elko, Nevada | Photo courtesy of Nevada Highway Patrol, St. George News background shows a Nevada Highway Patrol car | Photo by Tomás Del Coro via Wikimedia Commons, St. George News

ELY, Nev. (AP) — A highway patrol sergeant was shot, his patrol vehicle stolen and a suspect was arrested Friday with possible explosives following a confrontation a little before dawn in a remote area of northeastern Nevada, authorities said.

Around 6 a.m. Friday, Sgt. Ben Jenkins stopped to assist a motorist on U.S. 93 south of the White Pine County area, according to a news release from Nevada Highway Patrol.

During this contact, the motorist opened fire on Jenkins, 47, who was struck and killed.

The motorist stole Jenkins’ uniform and fled the scene in his patrol vehicle. Following a search that lasted several hours, the suspect was located and taken into custody with the assistance of multiple agencies.

The male suspect was apprehended after 10 a.m., not far from the Lincoln County line, and materials identified as possible explosives were found, Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee, whose deputies were involved in the manhunt, told the Associated Press.

Nevada Highway Patrol Sgt. Ben Jenkins who was shot and killed on March 27, 2020, near Elko, Nevada | Photo courtesy of Nevada Highway Patrol, St. George News

Lee said it appeared the man acted alone.

The suspected assailant had multiple weapons and was previously known to law enforcement officers. The sheriff said he could not immediately provide a motive.

Jenkins was an Elko native who devoted his life to public service and to serving Nevadans. He began working for the Highway Patrol in March 2008 as a trooper in Jackpot and was promoted to sergeant in Elko in 2017. Prior to NHP, he was a training officer for the Nevada State Fire Marshal Division, a crew supervisor for the Nevada Division of Forestry, an Assistant Fire Chief for the Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department, and a veteran of both the Army National Guard and Air National Guard. In 2011, Jenkins received the Nevada Department of Public Safety’s highest honor, the Gold Medal of Valor, which is presented to officers who perform an extraordinary act of heroism, according to the release.

“This is a time of tremendous grief for our agency, his family and our communities,” NHP said in the release.

He is survived by his wife, his mother, four children and five grandchildren. A memorial service is pending and that information will be forthcoming at a later date.

Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Free News Delivery by Email

Would you like to have the day's news stories delivered right to your inbox every evening? Enter your email below to start!