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Police killed man at home in west Springfield

officer was hit

Police were investigating a string of commercial burglaries in the area.

February 22, 2013|by Jonah Kaplan, KSPR News | jkaplan@kspr.com

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- Springfield police shot and killed a man about 8 a.m. at a home at 2506 W. Grand St., after going there to serve a search warrant.  The police chief said Friday afternoon that several officers were on routine administrative leave while the fatal shooting is investigated.

Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams says Det. Travis Wilson was hit in the right back/hip by a bullet during an exchange of gunfire with the man, who stepped outside the home.  Other officers shot and killed the man.  Investigators don't know which of several officers shot the man.

Wilson was treated for his wound at a hospital and released.  He's recovering at home.  The detective was not wearing a protective bulletproof vest.  He was wearing a suit, not a police uniform.  This is the first time in 16 years that a Springfield police officer was shot.

Officers did not approach the house and the man's body on the lawn for several hours because they were not sure if another shooter was inside.  A tactical vehicle moved toward the house.  Police searched outbuildings behind the home to make sure no one was in them.  They used a robot with a camera in that search.  They found no one.  Police then secured the scene as part of the investigation.

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At least 30 officers were on scene.  The neighborhood was blocked off and residents were told to stay inside.  A nursing home across the street was locked down to prevent an intruder from entering.

Williams said Friday afternoon that the search warrant is related to an investigation of a string of commercial burglaries in the 3100 block of West Chestnut Expressway.

Before the shooting, police tried to pull over a pickup without license plates that was in the area of the burglaries on Thursday night.  The driver fled, Williams said, and police did not pursue it.  Police later found the truck crashed in the 700 block of North West Avenue.  Police followed footsteps in the snow to the house on Grand.  A witness also told officers that the driver went to the house. 

Police found out later that the crashed truck was stolen from a dealer's lot in the 3100 block of West Chestnut Expressway, the scene of the burglaries.

Police surrounded the home on Grand, the chief said, and applied to a judge for a search warrant. That matches the statement of a witness who told a reporter that police had been at the house since about 11:30 p.m. 

After getting the warrant, the department's Special Response Team, which serves all search warrants in the city, started their work.  A witness told a reporter that police used the bullhorn to say a man should come out with his hands up, and the man hollered back that he hadn't done anything.  Police then moved towards the house and the shootout followed.

Some neighbors told a reporter on Friday morning that some shots were fired at the home about an hour before the fatal shootout.  Police also told reporters at midday that the man came out once, went back inside, then came out later and started firing, leading to his death.  Williams did not mention an earlier round of shots fired during his news conference at 4 p.m.

The home at 2506 W. Grand St. is next to the Grand Villa Community Mobile Home Park but homes in the park are not part of this incident.

Police questioned and released two other people who were in the home during the shootout.  They didn't say whether the two people lived at that home or were visiting.

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