CLAYCOMO, Mo. -- Some are saying more police officers could have prevented a double shooting here last week. Citizens vented their frustrations at a village trustee meeting.
According to court documents, the suspect, Frank Littrell, called Claycomo police shortly before the shooting and asked for a police officer to be at his father's business so that he could retrieve some property.
Claycomo did not send an officer because only one was on duty at the time, and that officer was busy on another call.
Raymond Littrell's mechanic's garage is where the shootings later happened. The business has been part of the Claycomo community for 40 years.
Angry citizens told village trustees last night that if an officer had responded to the suspect's request, the shooting might not have happened.
Claycomo Public Safety Director Jack Foster concedes that he would like to have two officers on the streets at all times, but doesn't know that would have made a difference in this case.
"I understand there were some people in the village upset about this tragic incident," Foster said. "I certainly understand their feelings. There's no way we could have anticipated that this tragic incident occurred. I don't think from the call received here at city hall, there was any indication there would be any type of violence."
Foster says he will soon implement a staff restructuring plan that will ensure there are always two officers on duty in Claycomo.
A budget shortfall of $300,000 resulted in two police officers and a firefighter position being cut this year.
If the caller had indicated there might be trouble, Foster says police would have responded to the garage before the shooting.
Foster also says a mutual aid request made sure that there were plenty of law enforcement officers at the shooting scene. He says that sort of cooperation is what resulted in first-degree murder charges being filed so quickly against Frank Littrell.