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Woman shot outside AA meeting in Belton

BELTON, Mo. -- A man is charged in Cass County with the shooting of a woman at an Alcoholics Anonymous meeting on Valentine's Day evening.

According to the probable cause statement, Thomas Sanders, 24, was charged with assault in the 2nd degree after police responded to the area of North Scott and Turner Road and found a woman shot in her leg.

Witnesses told police that they were outside the door of the Alcoholics Anonymous building, looking around because they thought they heard a gunshot. One of the witnesses said he was walking back inside when he heard another shot. The witness stated that the victim immediately went to her knee. The witness says he helped her inside. He says he and the others were worried they would also be shot.

The witness said he did not see where the shot came from but did point to some apartments on the west side of the railroad tracks where windows were open at two apartments. When he was talking to police, the witness noticed the windows were shut.

A man working on his car stated he heard the shots and said they came from the apartments.

As police were gathering evidence at the scene, they noticed two male subjects on the train tracks to the west of the AA building. They appeared to be on their hands and knees, watching police. An officer approached them and asked them about what they were doing. One was a juvenile witness and the other was the defendant, Thomas Sanders. Police say Sanders told them that he and his brother were curious about what was going on. The officer told them a woman had been shot. According to the officer, when he told Sanders about the woman, Sanders' face turned pale and 'he had a look of extreme panic on his face.'

Police collected evidence that the gunfire came from a .22 rifle. When they talked to the father of the two brothers, the man confirmed he owned a .22 rifle, but said he was the only one to use it. As he was talking to the father and looking at the rifle, the police officer says Sanders came into the room and appeared drunk. The officer patted him down and says he found in his pocket multiple bullets and casings that matched the Winchester .22 ammunition.

Sanders' bond was set at $10,000.