An Owensboro man is facing a series of charges, including first-degree wanton endangerment for allegedly striking a police officer with a vehicle Thursday morning.

Jeffrey Wayne Jennings, 32, of the 2600 block of Lancaster Avenue, was also charged in connection with a Monday shooting, where an occupied vehicle was struck by gunfire on J.R. Miller Boulevard.

Jennings is accused of striking Owensboro Police Department Officer Bryan Velotta with a vehicle on McConnell Avenue.

“We believe he intentionally did it,” said Officer Andrew Boggess, OPD’s public information officer.

Thursday’s incident began at 5:58 a.m., when officers were called to a Burger King restaurant at 2401 Patriot Run, to a report of a man with a gun. Boggess said employees told police a man, later identified as Jennings, got into a dispute with employees and pointed a handgun at an employee during the incident.

“There was a confrontation of a sort, it escalated, and he brandished a weapon,” Boggess said.

Boggess said officers located Jennings some time later on McConnell Avenue. Jennings, who was in a vehicle, accelerated as officers approached, striking Velotta.

Jennings then struck an OPD cruiser and a pole before he was taken into custody. Boggess said Velotta suffered minor injuries in the incident.

Detectives were already seeking Jennings as s suspect in a Monday shooting on J.R. Miller near East Byers Avenue. No one was injured in Monday’s incident.

“(Jennings) had a fairly significant amount of methamphetamine” when he was arrested, Boggess said.

Jennings was charged with first-degree wanton endangerment (police office), first-degree trafficking in a controlled substance (meth), possession of a handgun by a convicted felon and driving under the influence.

“This was a guy that needed to be off the street very badly,” Boggess said.

Jennings was being held Thursday in the Daviess County Detention Center.

Also on Thursday, OPD charged an Owensboro man and a juvenile in connection with a Jan. 20 shooting at an occupied vehicle on East 26th Street.

In that incident, a vehicle was struck multiple times by gunfire, but no one was injured.

Kobe L. Smith, 19, of the 700 Elm Street, was initially charged with unlawful transaction with a minor, and two juveniles with him were charged with possession of a handgun by a minor. On Thursday, OPD charged Smith with two counts of first-degree wanton endangerment, tampering with physical evidence and first-degree criminal mischief in connection with the East 26th Street shooting.

A female juvenile who was with Smith was also charged Thursday with first-degree wanton endangerment and first-degree criminal mischief in connection with the shooting.

Smith was being held Thursday in the Daviess County Detention Center.

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

James Mayse, 270-691-7303, jmayse@messenger-inquirer.com, Twitter: @JamesMayse

(2) comments

albert smith

Time for Texas justice. You better not shoot at my truck.

Melanie Whistle

This piece of crap has been doing crap like this since he was 18yrs. He as only been out for 5 months after a 6yr sentence. He will never change, but he keeps getting out. They won't keep him locked up until he kills someone. He came close this time.

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