Witness descriptions, paperwork led police to Holt to find suspect in gun theft, shooting

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HOLT, Mo. -- Amanda Davidson has lived off N.E. 172nd Street between Kearney and Holt for 10 years. She told FOX4 she had never seen anything quite like what unfolded Thursday afternoon.

Deputies lined her gravel road after shooting and killing a 28-year-old suspect near her home.

"I was first worried about getting all my kiddos inside and keeping them safe," Davidson said.

She'd seen social media posts about an incident earlier in the day at Academy Sports in Liberty, where a suspect tried to buy a gun. When the purchase was denied, Liberty police said he brandished a knife, leaped over a counter and stole the weapon.

Witnesses were able to give investigators a suspect and vehicle description. Officials also got the man's address from the application he filled out to buy the gun at Academy Sports.

Police say the suspect then drove to Independence where an employee at Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep RAM was shot.

"About an hour and a half, almost two hours of stuff happening, then as we put it together, it's like, 'OK, this is all connected,'" said Capt. Will Akin with the Clay County Sheriff's Office.

A suspect car from both incidents was registered to someone living at an address of N.E. 172nd Street near Holt. Clay County deputies headed that way, and Kearney police spotted the driver nearby.

"When they found him on the road, they initially tried to conduct a traffic stop," Akin said. "That's when he fled."

Investigators won't say exactly what unfolded, but an apparently tense exchange ended when deputies shot and killed the suspect.

"There's always a prompting. There's always something the officer or deputy cues in on and, in this case, we had a firearm stolen," Akin said. "Until we can verify from investigative teams coming up, we can only speculate the firearm was still present."

No other bystanders or law enforcement officers were injured in the ordeal.

Clay County deputies do wear body cameras, but we don't know yet what was captured in the exchange. The footage cannot be publicly released until the investigation is complete.

Missouri State Highway Patrol is assisting with the investigation.

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