Double homicide stuns residents in Independence neighborhood


INDEPENDENCE, Mo. — Two people are dead following an early morning car crash. Although, there’s much more to the story. Police believe it stems from a shooting that happened about a half mile away.

“It hit at full speed head-on into that black ford pickup truck,” Witness Megan Smith said.

She pointed out tire tracks through several front yards in the 500 block of S. Ash Ave.

The tracks lead to blood stains in the street.

“Their life is left lying on the street right there,” Smith said.

Smith was leaving for work just before 6:30a.m. Sunday. Her husband was backing out of the driveway when a jeep barreled through almost hitting his bumper.

“At least 40-45 mph,” Smith said. “To know that these people were trying to escape a shooter and basically taking their last breathes just trying to get away and find help. That terrifies me more than if they would have hit my husband’s truck.”

The jeep was traveling on the wrong side of the road, halfway in the grass. The driver just missed two telephone poles. Then, crashed into a parked truck.

Smith believes the man driving was unconscious.

“Like it’s on autopilot,” Smith said, “but no one’s steering and there’s a foot on the gas pedal that can’t be controlled.”

Smith, a former EMT, ran to help.

She called police and quickly discovered this was not just a car crash.

“We realized, my husband said Megan, ‘this car has bullet holes’,” Smith said.

The man and woman in the car had several gunshot wounds.

“He was very much so struggling to catch a breath,” Smith said. “He couldn’t breathe.”

Police said the shooting happened about a half mile away in the 100 block of Huttig Ave.

Broken glass from the car window still sits on the gravel where neighbors said the shooting happened, and near where the woman lived.

Family said the woman’s two children were home when it happened.

“It’s heartbreaking to know that these children are going to have to be heartbroken,” Smith said.

Smith said her grandkids go to the same school. She recognized the 35-year-old mom, while trying to save her life.

“To see what’s left behind from this type of violence has to strike somebody and it has to hit them right here,” Smith said pointing at her heart, “and see how terrible this is and how hurtful it is to do this to people.”

Police are still searching for the suspect.

If you know anything, call the tips hotline at 816-474-TIPS.

You can remain anonymous and could receive a $2,000 reward for any tip leading to an arrest.

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