Saturday, March 22, 2008

Missouri: Self-defense claimed in area shooting death

Nevada, Missouri

From the Joplin Globe of March 21, 2008
Self-defense claimed in area shooting death

Vernon County deputies looking into a fatal shooting this week in the Dederick area were awaiting results Friday of an autopsy to help them determine whether any charges should be filed against the shooter.

Vernon County Sheriff Ron Peckman said the shooter, a man in his 50s, claims he was being assaulted by the man he is believed to have shot three times with a .32-caliber handgun.

The man killed was identified as Jimmy Dale Duncan, 47, whose last known address was in Neosho, the sheriff said. Peckman said Duncan apparently had been staying in recent days at the home where his body was found, near the intersection of Katy Track and 2900 Road in eastern Vernon County.

The Vernon County Sheriff’s Department was called at 8:19 p.m. Wednesday to the home when a female caller initially reported someone was possibly suffering a heart attack at the address. The sheriff said a second call from the residence reported a possible shooting.

Deputies and emergency medical workers found Duncan dead when they arrived. The sheriff said Duncan had visible gunshot wounds to his chest, abdomen and arm. He said the man believed to have shot Duncan surrendered his handgun to deputies when they arrived at the scene.

The man and a woman, who both live at the address, were taken in for questioning Wednesday night. They were later released without any charges having been filed. The Sheriff’s Department had not released their names as of Friday afternoon.

Peckman said the man claims he was being assaulted by Duncan and shot him in self-defense.

The sheriff said the shooter was on oxygen for medical reasons and was sitting in a chair inside the home when Duncan reportedly began slapping his face. He said the man told investigators he reached for his gun beside the chair and shot Duncan.

Duncan had been seeing the woman who lives at the address, the sheriff said. He said the woman and the shooter lived together as friends and may have been related. He said their exact relationship had yet to be determined by investigators.

All three had been drinking together, Peckman said.

“They admitted they had been drinking beer and whiskey all afternoon and evening,” he said. “It makes for a bad combination.”

An autopsy scheduled for Thursday in Springfield was delayed until Friday, the sheriff said. Investigators were waiting to see what the autopsy might reveal, he said, with respect to trajectories and range of the shots that struck Duncan and which shot caused his death. Toxicology tests also were being conducted on the body, he said.

Besides obtaining statements from the two occupants of the house, a male neighbor who was at the home when the shooting took place was questioned, the sheriff said.

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