Police Say Shootings are Gang Related
COLUMBIA - Investigators in the Friday morning drive-by shooting and the Boone County Fair attack say the incidents are linked and part of gang violence.
However, Lacey Harris, a mother to a friend of the fair victim, said the two incidents are not linked to gang violence. She said she knows the identity of the shooter and that the sheriffs department let the shooter slip away.
The incidents began Friday morning at 5:45 A.M. when a car drove by Harris' house and fired three shots. The shots struck her post, door, and window. No one was injured during the shooting, but bled was shed in a related incident later that night.
According to Harris, her sons' friends ran into the early morning attackers at the Boone County Fair Grounds. One of the attackers pulled out a gun, fired, and hit a 19-year-old man in the upper leg. Harris said after the shooter fired, some ran away from the scene and others ran toward the scene to subdue the shooter. She said a crowd surrounded the shooter and took him to the ground.
When Sheriff's deputies arrived, Harris said the shooter faked an injury, took an ambulance to the hospital, and escaped from there.
Police, however, have a different story. Investigators say after the shooter fired, some fair attendees started tackling those running away from the scene because they believed the runners to be involved in the shooting. Sheriffs questioned these people but eventually released them. Major Tom Reddin with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said it is presumed that the shooter fled on foot.
Because the two incidents took place in two jurisdictions, the Boone County Sheriff's Department and the Columbia Police Department are coordinating with the investigation. Officer Jesse Haden with the Columbia Police Department said the fair shooting is most likely retaliation for the morning drive-by. She said they are almost certain who the shooters are, but cannot arrest them because there's no probable cause. Haden also said witnesses are key.
"The victims are essential for us in a lot of these cases and give us the information about who was shooting at them," said Haden. However, Haden and Detective Tom O'Sullivan with the Boone County Sheriff's Department said the victim and the witnesses are not cooperating.
"When you have an uncooperative victim, that makes it very hard to press charges," said O'Sullivan.
Columbia Police Department also said these shootings are related to a slew of shooting incidents throughtout Columbia. We have a link to those shootings on our website here.
Police said they are now looking for other charges filed against their suspects. Haden said she hopes looking at these charges and arrest warrants will give them enough cause to bring in the shooters and get them off the streets.