London Police Chief: 'We're lucky everybody is still alive' after Barbourville man throws gun, gun discharges near officers

LONDON — Two officers were among those who could have faced dire circumstances stemming from a confrontation on Tuesday morning that now has a Barbourville man facing serious charges.

London City Police officers responded to a complaint of a male subject walking along West Ky. 80, not wearing a shirt and making obscene gestures to motorists. Two officers made contact with 34-year-old Kevin Lewis at Red Roof Inn.

But Lewis refused to speak with the officers, and pulled a .38 caliber Derringer pistol from the pants pocket and pointed it at his head while yelling at the officers. He then exited the hotel and walked up Melcon Lane toward West Hal Rogers Parkway with the gun in his hand.

The city officers immediately called for back up in the situation with other city police officers and Sheriff John Root and deputies responding.

Lewis meanwhile had walked behind Arby's restaurant toward Heritage Road. A dairy truck exiting from Borden's Dairy was stopped at the intersection of the two roads and Lewis jumped on the side of the truck, still pointing the gun at himself. The press release from London City Police states that Lewis then threw the cocked gun onto the roadway, causing it to discharge near the officers.

London Police Chief Darrell Kilburn was on the scene of the investigation and commented on the severity of the incident.

"We're lucky everybody is still alive," he said.

That was the same emotion voiced by Arianna Maggard, assistant manager at the Arby's restaurant. Maggard said she saw the male subject sitting on the steps of the restaurant as she arrived at work around 10:30 a.m.

"I was in the turning lane when I saw police coming in and I saw this man sitting on the steps," she said. "I have my son with me and we saw more cops coming and I heard two shots. I was going to stay in my car but then decided we'd be safer inside."

Like most people who have been involved in a dangerous situation, Maggard was having the usual thoughts of 'what if' after the incident.

"I pulled in here and parked and saw that guy. I just wonder if I'd spoke to him if he would have approached us, or what if he had approached us," she questioned. "It scared me to death."

Lewis was taken into custody and charged with nine counts of first-degree wanton endangerment of a police officer, first-degree fleeing or evading police, on foot, and resisting arrest. He was also charged with two outstanding warrants and lodged in the Laurel County Correctional Center.

njohnson@sentinel-echo.com

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