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Indiana firefighter killed when stranded motorist he stopped to help opened fire, police say

Reserve officer Zachary Holly, with the Palmyra Police Department, was also injured when motorist Justin Moore allegedly fired.
The scene of a shooting on SR 135 outside of Palmyra, Ind
The scene of a shooting on SR 135 outside of Palmyra, Ind. on May 16, 2022.

A firefighter was fatally shot and an officer was injured when a stranded motorist they stopped to help opened fire, Indiana State Police said.

The motorist, identified as Justin Moore of Owensboro, Kentucky, also died after he was shot by the officer.

The incident unfolded shortly before 9:30 p.m. Monday on SR 135 just south of Palmyra. State police said Moore had apparently run out of gas and pulled his car to the side of the highway. He asked a resident in the area for gas or money so he could buy some fuel and then returned to his car, state police said in a news release.

Shortly afterward, reserve officer Zachary Holly, with the Palmyra Police Department, arrived at the scene to help. Resident Jacob McClanahan and a friend who were passing by in their pick-up truck also stopped to assist.

Holly asked Moore if there were any weapons in the car and Moore said there were not. Police said Moore did have a small knife in his possession and was asked to place the knife inside the vehicle.

"The investigation reveals that as Justin Moore entered his car to return the knife, he quickly turned around brandishing a shotgun and fired at Officer Holly," the news release states. "Officer Holly then returned fire with his department pistol. Justin Moore fired the shotgun a second time and fatally struck Jacob McClanahan. Officer Holly continued to return fire with his department weapon, fatally striking Justin Moore."

Holly was taken to Harrison County Hospital for minor injuries, state police said. The Palmyra Police Department did not immediately return a request for comment on Saturday.

State police said McClanahan, a volunteer firefighter with the Ramsey Fire Department was a good Samaritan who was trying to help.

"It is with great sadness that we must announce the passing of one of our firefighters Jacob T. McClanahan!! Jacob never had a negative word to say about anything that was going on and always looked at the brighter side of things!! Jacob T will be missed around here," the fire department said in a Facebook post. "Please keep The McClanahan family in your prayers!"

It's not clear why Moore was traveling in Indiana. The shooting remains under investigation.