Drug trafficking suspect killed after shooting Lincoln deputy twice

LANCASTER — A Hustonville man wanted for suspected drug dealing was shot and killed during an exchange of gunfire with a deputy Wednesday afternoon.

Lincoln County Sheriff Curt Folger confirmed Wednesday night that Welby O’Dell Mullins Jr., 64, was killed during a traffic stop initiated by Lincoln County special Deputy Colby Reik.

Colby Reik

Colby Reik (Photo courtesy Trish O’Quin)

Mullins was fatally shot and Reik was airlifted to the University of Kentucky Chandler Medical Center following the shooting, which occurred around 3:50 p.m. at the Sunoco gas station in the Pleasant Retreat shopping center along U.S. 27 in Lancaster.

Folger said Reik had received a tip that Mullins, who had a warrant out for his arrest, was in the area.

Reik pulled over a vehicle he suspected had Mullins in it at the Sunoco station, according to Kentucky State Police.

“As the deputy approached the passenger side of the vehicle, (Mullins) exited the vehicle with a handgun, at which time gunshots were exchanged between the suspect and deputy,” a KSP news release reads.

Reik alerted other law enforcement via radio that he had stopped the vehicle with Mullins in it, so police arrived quickly after the incident, Folger said.

Folger said Reik was shot twice in the arm. Doctors have removed the bullets and Reik has since been released from the hospital, he said.

Mullins “sustained fatal injuries and was pronounced deceased at the scene by the Garrard County coroner,” according to KSP.

A warrant for Mullin’s arrest had been issued on Tuesday, after Lincoln County deputies searched Mullins’ home on Maxey Valley Road and found an estimated two and a half pounds of a substance suspected to be crystal methamphetamine; $1,000 in $20 bills; $6,000 inside a safe; and digital scales, among other items.

Mullins was not at the residence when the search warrant was executed. Lincoln Deputy Chase Marcum said Tuesday that Mullins was already on federal probation for trafficking in cocaine in the early 1990s.

Mullins’ body remained on the ground at the gas station past 6 p.m. A reporter on the scene said the body was still face down on concrete between gas pumps and visible to traffic on U.S. 27 at 6:10 p.m.

A man was seen in handcuffs at the scene but police had not said who the man was as of 6 p.m. Purdy said the man in handcuffs “is not under arrest.”

Kentucky State Police from the Richmond post and KSP’s Critical Incident Response Branch are investigating the incident.

This story was last updated at 7 a.m. Jan. 5. Interior Journal Editor Abigail Whitehouse, Ben Kleppinger and Kendra Peek contributed to this report.