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Quail Drive residents say more police needed

Saturday, August 23, 2008 | 7:03 p.m. CDT; updated 11:06 a.m. CDT, Sunday, August 24, 2008

COLUMBIA - Residents in a northeast Columbia neighborhood said there needs to be more police surveillance in the area after a man was shot and killed and another was shot in the chest near their homes on Quail Drive on Thursday night.

"All (the police) would have to do is just sit and watch," one resident said. "The majority of people here is on something."

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Another resident agreed. "There were always people around," she said. "Obviously drugs were going on."

Both residents asked to be unnamed because they fear for their safety. They said that they see a lot of cars in the area from people who don't live there, and neither was surprised about the shooting on Thursday.

"I knew it was going to happen sooner or later," one said.

Both said they hope that keeping to themselves will assure their safety. "You don't want to make friends here," the other said. "Everyone here is (drugged) out. ... Ain't nobody gonna stick together around here."

Bebe Perez, who lives in the apartment complex where the shooting occurred, said that he, too, is now keeping to himself and "not going out at night" anymore.

The building itself has flimsy doors. One of the former tenants said she broke her lease to leave because her ex-boyfriend nearly broke her door in a rage.

Just next door, a four-apartment building has shattered windows. Lawns up and down the street are unmowed.

Although it was 3 o'clock on a sunny Saturday afternoon and bikes were scattered all around, no was outside. No children. No adults.

TVs played inside. But no one would answer a knock at the door. No one but Perez.

‘Never seen so many guns'

He said when he called 911 to report the shots fired on the night of the shooting, he was unable to get through to an operator. He said other residents told him they had the same problem.

No one was available at Columbia/Boone County Joint Communications on Saturday to comment on the problem.

Still, Perez said, police arrived quickly after the shooting. He said he had "never seen so many guns drawn." He said he stayed in his apartment while the police stayed at the scene for the next few hours.

On Friday, police arrested one man and identified a second suspect in the shooting.

A warrant was issued for Clyde Hyler III, 22, through the Boone County prosecutor's office for one count of second-degree murder and one count of first-degree robbery. Police initially identified him as Clyde Hyler Jr. in a news release.

Hyler is described as 6 feet tall and weighing 160 pounds and should be considered armed and dangerous.

Bond was set at $1 million for the second-degree murder charge and $1 million for the robbery charge.

A drug set-up

Police believe the shooting was the result of a drug set-up in which the victims, Antonio Flores-Ramirez, 29, of Columbia, and Javier Perdoza, 23, were to be robbed, police Capt. Brad Nelson said.

Both men thought they were going to buy drugs from Antoine J. Harris, 31, of 4808 Rice Road, and Hyler, Nelson said.

At about 10:56 p.m Thursday, Flores-Ramirez was found dead after police responded to reports of shots fired on Quail Drive. Perdoza was later found in a nearby apartment with a gunshot wound to the chest. Flores-Ramirez and Perdoza are citizens of Mexico.

As of 8:18 a.m. Friday, Perdoza was listed in critical condition at a hospital, the release said.

On Friday, Harris was arrested on suspicion of second-degree murder, first-degree assault, first-degree robbery and armed criminal action, a news release said. As of 12:40 p.m. Saturday, Harris was being held in the Boone County Jail. The release said Harris confessed to his involvement in the shooting.

At about 5 a.m. Friday, a blue over silver SUV matching the description of a vehicle that fled the scene of the shooting was stopped by Columbia and Fulton police on State Route F.

Officers took Harris, who was passenger in the vehicle, and another man into custody for questioning at the Columbia Police Department. The second occupant was released after questioning and is no longer considered a suspect in the investigation, the release said. He was not present at the scene of the shooting but picked up Harris and Hyler when they fled to Fulton.

Residents of the apartment building where the shooting took place said Flores-Ramirez and Perdoza were often seen loitering on the corner where the shooting occurred. At about 10:45 p.m Thursday, residents said they heard arguing. Shortly after, Flores-Ramirez was shot and killed on the corner.

No weapons recovered

This is the fourth shooting in Columbia this week, Nelson said, and the third homicide reported this year. Two of the three homicides have involved guns. At this time in 2007, there was one homicide reported in Columbia, according to the Missouri State Highway Patrol Uniform Crime Report.

As of 6 p.m. Friday, police had not found any weapons involved in Thursday's shooting.

On July 8, Harris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor charges of peace disturbance and unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 60 days in the Boone County Jail. He was scheduled to be in court on Oct. 2 to be tried on misdemeanor charges of second-degree property damage, third-degree domestic assault and second-degree endangering the welfare of a child. A preliminary hearing was scheduled for the same date on charges of felony first-degree property damage, felony endangering the welfare of a child and driving while intoxicated.

In February, Harris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree domestic assault and misdemeanor unlawful use of drug paraphernalia. He was sentenced to 90 days in the Boone County Jail with credit given for time served since November 2007.

In March 2007, Harris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor third-degree assault and was sentenced to 30 days in the Boone County Jail.

In 2005, he pleaded guilty to felony second-degree domestic assault and was sentenced to three years in prison.

In 2003, he pleaded guilty to misdemeanor second-degree property damage.

In 2001, Harris pleaded guilty to misdemeanor peace disturbance and driving while intoxicated.

Anyone with information should contact the Major Crimes Unit at 874-7414.

Missourian reporters Sara Shahriari and David Kennedy contributed to this report.

 


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Comments

Charles Dudley Jr August 24, 2008 | 2:28 p.m.

I really feel for the good residents and citizens of Columbia in that area who live in fear of the simple act of going outside of their homes. This is just not how life is supposed to be in our city and we as a city need to stand up with each other and as one voice to stop this madness that is plaguing our citizens. Children getting shot at innocently,kids carrying guns at sporting events,residents getting shot in front of others homes,citizens afraid to enjoy the simple pleasures in their own front yards. Where does it all end?
My suggestion is for all of the good residents of that area or any area this is going on in to begin the process of contacting your area councilman via email,phone or writing letters as a group and stand up and be heard.
The citizens of Columbia must speak as one voice,act as a single group and take back our streets at all cost so the safety of our city can be once again secured for all.
It is a very sad day when I read in the paper that a citizen does not feel safe in their own home or in their own front yard and this should be a top priority by our city council to alleviate this ongoing issue in our city. This is not about race,color or stereotyping but it is about people and those people feeling safe in their own front yards,neighborhoods and homes.

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