ELY, Nev. (News 4 & Fox 11) — A White Pine man is in custody after killing a Nevada Highway Patrol trooper and stealing his uniform and patrol car near Ely on Friday morning.
According to NHP, Sgt. Ben Jenkins stopped to help a motorist on US-93 near mile marker 106 shortly before 6 a.m. on Friday morning. While making contact with the driver, John Dabritz, 65, Sgt. Jenkins was shot and killed.
Dabritz is accused of stealing Sgt. Jenkin's uniform and patrol car after the shooting.
After an hours-long search, authorities located Dabritz in the area of Cherry Creek and took him into custody.
Jenkins, an Elko native, joined the Nevada Highway Patrol in March 2008 as a trooper in Jackpot. Jenkins was promoted to sergeant in 2017. Prior to his time with NHP, he was a training officer for the Nevada State Fire Marshal Division, a crew supervisor for the Nevada Division of Forestry, and assistant fire chief fore the Spring Creek Volunteer Fire Department and a veteran of both the Army National Guard and the Air National Guard.
In 2011, Jenkins received the Nevada Department of Safety's highest honor, the Gold Medal of Valor, which is presented to officers who perform an extraordinary act of heroism.
Without question, Sgt. Jenkins was a hero to his community, his law enforcement colleagues, the State of Nevada and our country,” said Director George Togliatti. “This is a tremendous loss for the Nevada Highway Patrol, his family, and everyone Sgt. Jenkins touched during his long and honorable career in public service. My thoughts and prayers are with his loved ones during this period of mourning.
Sgt. Jenkins is survived by his wife, mother, four children and five grandchildren.
Nevada Governor Steve Sisolak released the following statement following Sgt. Jenkin's death:
Kathy and I were absolutely heartbroken to learn of the tragic and senseless killing of Sergeant Ben Jenkins, a 12-year veteran of the Nevada Highway Patrol, military veteran, husband, father to four, and grandfather to five. Ben dedicated his life to serving his country as a member of the Army and Air National Guard, a volunteer firefighter, and public servant for the Nevada State Fire Marshall Division and the Nevada Division of Forestry. A Gold Medal of Valor recipient, the Department of Public Safety’s highest honor, Sgt. Jenkins heroic actions as an officer undoubtedly saved many lives throughout his career in law enforcement. Our hearts go out to Sgt. Jenkins’ wife, his children and grand children, and the entire Elko community for this irreplaceable loss. May he rest in peace – Sgt. Jenkins will never be forgotten.
Two bank accounts have been set up to help Jenkins' family — Wells Fargo Bank account no. 5906636682 and Nevada State Bank account no. 5795937738.
Here is the latest update from the Nevada Highway Patrol as of 3 p.m. on Friday, March 27.
This is a developing story. Check back with us for updates.