KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker has charged a Lee’s Summit man with murder after the shooting death of a man in Independence earlier this week.
23-year-old Arieous K. Walton-Merritt has been charged with Second Degree Murder and Armed Criminal action in the shooting death of Matthew Bland-Williams Thursday night.
Independence police were called to a residence around E. Wigwam Drive and E. Wigwam Place to investigate a shooting. Officers found Bland-Williams in front of the home. He was taken to the hospital where he died from his injuries.
Police located a second crime scene where Walton-Merritt had collapsed in front of another home due to gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital for treatment of his injuries.
Surveillance video from the first crime scene showed Walton-Merritt fire two shots at the Bland-Williams. The two then struggled over the gun, the Bland-Williams got control of the gun and fired shots at Walton-Merritt as he drove away.
Prosecutors have requested a $100,000 bond.
The mother of the victim, Pamela Bland, issued a statement in response to the death of her son:
“Matthew Bland-Williams was a funny and loving son. Although he was an only child, he was close to his eleven first cousins and had a large group of friends.
“Helping others came naturally to Matthew. Just last week, he met me while working at the church pantry providing food to community. When our family was told he was taking his friend food, at the time of his death, this act of kindness felt like something Matthew would do.
“Like so many victims of violent crime, Matthew’s future was bright. He had plans to move in with his best friend and put a difficult time behind him. His life was snatched away before he could reach his full potential and start a new business.
“We are grateful for the quick action of police and the prosecutor to identify and charge one suspect. We look forward to learning the truth about what happened. We want everyone involved in his death held accountable.”
No court date has been set for Walton-Merritt at this time.