Update Tuesday, Sept. 17, 2019: Preliminary results of the autopsy suggest Ashburn died from a self-inflicted gun shot wound to the head.
On Thursday, Sept. 12 at 4:41 p.m., Jasper County Deputies responded to a call of a stolen vehicle that was at 5206 E. Gerbitz Road. Upon arrival four deputies saw the vehicle at the residence. As they approached the vehicle to inspect it, a male in an outbuilding began firing at the deputies. The deputies returned fire. One of the deputies, Justin Henry, was shot in the right calf.
The deputies pulled back down the driveway and set up a perimeter. The Joplin Police Department SWAT team approached the shed and located the suspect deceased inside. The suspect was identified as Kenneth T. Ashburn, 28, Bella Vista, Ark. It is unknown if the suspect was struck by deputies return fire or if he died from a self-inflicted gunshot. Ashburn had a felony warrant out of Cherokee County, Kan., for aggravated assault.
Deputy Henry has been with the Jasper County Sheriff’s Office for seven years. The investigation into the incident is being conducted by the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
An autopsy on Ashburn is schedule for early next week.
The Jasper County Sheriff’s Office was assisted by numerous agencies including; Joplin Police Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, Carl Junction Police Department, Duenweg Police Department, Carthage Police Department, Carterville Police Department, Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office, MSSU Police Department and numerous medical and fire departments from the area.