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Police seek suspect after shot fired at officers

Thursday, September 18, 2008 | 2:17 p.m. CDT; updated 9:54 a.m. CDT, Friday, October 2, 2009

Police do not believe any of the seven people arrested early Thursday morning in a downtown fracas is the man who shot at a pair of officers.

At one point, police had more people in custody than they could transport in patrol cars, said Columbia Police Lt. Dianne Bernhard.

"It was pretty hairy," she said.

After calling in aid from the Missouri State Highway Patrol, MU Police and the Boone County Sheriff's Department, authorities were able to break up the raucous crowd of more than 50 people that had been moving west down Broadway, fights breaking out along the way.

Police became aware of what was happening when two officers patrolling the alley behind the Sapphire Lounge, at 1201 E. Broadway, saw two groups fighting.  The officers saw a woman throw a shoe and people pushing each other, Bernhard said.  There were about 30 people gathered, but only about 10 were actually involved in the fight, she said, which police believe was prompted by an argument inside the bar.

When officers approached the groups, everyone except four people fled.  Those remaining turned and looked at the officers, she said. One of them fired a shot.

The officers didn't see the gun, Bernhard said, but "they definitely felt the bullet was shot at them."

The four men fled north, and officers set up a tight perimeter to seal them off.  Police caught one man in the initial foot chase, and they caught another after a K-9 search, Bernhard said.  Two of the four men escaped, and police believe one of them was the man who shot at them.

As the police pursuit continued, a crowd formed again behind the Sapphire Lounge, then moved in front of the bar, Bernhard said. Behind the bar, someone assaulted an officer, who maced the man and arrested him immediately, Bernhard said. The group began moving west on Broadway, fighting along the way, she said.

One man who was not involved with the group, which swelled to more than 50 people, was punched in the face in front of Jimmy John's, she said. 

Meanwhile, police cleared the streets in the area, asking people to go elsewhere.

The group eventually ended up at Tenth and Walnut streets, where police arrested four people and the crowd started to disperse, she said.

The Columbia Police arrest record lists five people arrested in downtown Thursday morning.

  • At 12:50 a.m., Terrell Page, 28, of Columbia, was arrested on suspicion of third-degree assault of a law enforcement officer at 1201 Broadway. As of 1:15 p.m. Thursday, Page was being held at the Boone County Jail.
  • At 1:26 a.m., Michael Tyrone Spence, 23, of Columbia, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor peace disturbance  at Tenth and Walnut streets.
  • At 1:26 a.m., Marcus Lamar Munzo, 19, of Columbia, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor assault and misdemeanor peace disturbance at Tenth and Walnut streets.
  • At 1:30 a.m, Shannell L. Libbus, 25, of Columbia, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor noise violation at 1201 Broadway.
  • At 1:31 a.m., Samantha P. Munzo, 18, of Columbia, was arrested on suspicion of misdemeanor resisting or interfering with arrest at Tenth and Walnut streets.

In all, 36 Columbia police officers — almost every on-duty officer — responded to the incident, Bernhard said.

She said police are still looking for the two men who fled the original scene behind Sapphire Lounge.  The biggest problem police typically face in this sort of situation, she said, is a lack of cooperation from potential witnesses.

"We really need some people to come forward," Bernhard said.  "Somebody's going to get hurt if we don't catch people who are shooting at police officers and large crowds."

She said police are working with the owner of the Sapphire Lounge, who has told them she plans to stop having a hip-hop DJ on Wednesdays in an attempt to change the crowd that comes to the bar.

Police ask that anyone with information call 875-8477 or visit 875tips.com.


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