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Man says custody fight caused his brother to kill their dad, shoot their sister

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LIBERTY, Mo. — A man charged with shooting and killing his father and then turning the gun on his sister on Friday in Claycomo appeared in Clay County court on Monday without an attorney.

Police say Frank W. Littrell, 42, of Lathrop, Mo. killed his father, Raymond Littrell, 73, when he shot him multiple times Friday evening at the family business, Clay County Engine Rebuilders, 46 E. US Hwy. 69.

Littrell’s sister, Elizabeth A. Williams, 40, was also shot multiple times and was transported to an area hospital with serious injuries. She later underwent surgery and is expected to recover.

According to the probable cause statement released Saturday by police, the shooting may have been related to a custody dispute involving Littrell’s 10-year-old son and members of his family.  It stated that following a family dispute, Littrell had allegedly refused to allow his family members to see his son, and that his father, Raymond Littrell, had supposedly contacted an attorney regarding grandparent rights.

RELATED: Police identify suspect in fatal Claycomo shooting

On Monday, FOX 4's Melissa Stern spoke to Frank Littrell's older brother, Chris. He was in the garage when the shooting started.

"It was just panic, you know. And amazement," he said. "I thought it was the vehicle we were working on. I thought it was backfiring and one of our employees came in yelling and told me what was going on."

Chris Littrell confirmed that Frank was upset about the custody dispute. He said Frank's youngest son was actually there and witnessed the shooting of his grandfather and aunt.

He said his dad owned the business since 1966, and he worked alongside him since he was 12-years old.

"To say we were close, that doesn't even begin to say it," Chris said. "I was really close with him. We hunted together, we fished. We went on trips," he said of his father.

Chris Littrell said he hadn't spoken to Frank since June because of their differences.

"Somewhere things went wrong," Chris said. "I know he loved his kids more than anything in the world, but things got lost."

Police said at about 7:30 on Friday night, they received a phone call from a female family member of Littrell’s, who stated he wished to turn himself into authorities. A Clay County Sheriff’s 911 dispatcher advised them to drive to the Sheriff’s Office on 12 S. Walter Street. They were then instructed to park their vehicle, shut the engine off, turn his dome light on, open the windows, and then place their hands outside of the windows. They followed the instructions and Littrell was arrested, without any further incident, by Clay County deputies and officers from the Liberty Police Department.

Littrell has been charged with first-degree murder, assault, and two counts of armed criminal action. Because he had no attorney he requested a public defender, and the judge say he will reappear in court in February.

"I don't know what I could have done. I don't know what anybody could have done. Anybody can speculate what should have, could have done, and it doesn't change where we're at today," Chris Littrell said.

Earlier coverage:



4 comments

  • Joe

    It is too bad the victims didn’t have a gun because according to the NRA, the best way to stop a bad guy with a gun is a good guy with a gun. Since this doesn’t seem to be working, maybe we should have better gun control and it would include stricter qualifications for being allowed to have a gun in the city. Guns for hunting on the farm are a completely different story. It is rare to have a killing in the rural areas and they have access to just as many guns as they have in the city.

  • brian tice

    I’m sorry for opening my mouth right now but Joe, I don’t see a lot of difference between you bringing your gun politics to a tragedy like this and the Phelps people picketing a funeral.

  • Karla Ann Evans

    This is beyond sad but no one made him do this. HE chose to get pissed off and shoot them! God gives us a brain & to make choices in our life. It’s up to us whether it’s a good or bad choice. I hope the judge brings the hammer down on him. Most importantly his child’s life is changed forever. That’s beyond sad.

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