Shots fired in Cosmo Park; none injured

Police say eight teens were involved in the incident.
Wednesday, November 12, 2003 | 12:00 a.m. CST; updated 6:33 a.m. CDT, Friday, June 27, 2008

No one was injured amid gunfire Monday afternoon at Cosmopolitan Park, but police have arrested two and issued summons for several more.

On Tuesday, Columbia Police arrested Charles Julian Ayers, 17, of Columbia while he was in class at 10:35 a.m. at Rock Bridge High School. He was arrested on suspicion of armed criminal action and first-degree assault.

On Monday, police arrested John Craig James, 17, of Columbia on suspicion of armed criminal action and first-degree assault, as well. Police also issued summonses on suspicion of fighting to Soeum Lem, 17, SoPheak Prach, 17, Clifton Edwin Calvin, 18, Thauorak Ouk, 18, and two 16-year-old males, all of Columbia.

The gunfire occurred around 1 p.m. near the entrance to the park. According to a press release from the Columbia Police Department, two groups of teens met at the park to settle a dispute and began to fight.

Police say James displayed a .22-caliber handgun and threatened the other group during the altercation, before giving the gun to Ayers. As Lem, Prach, Calvin, Ouk, and one of the 16-year-olds fled the park in their vehicle, Ayers fired at them, police said.

Sgt. Steve Monticelli said Ayers fired the gun about eight times, judging from the number of casings found, striking the vehicle six times but missing the occupants.

Police arrived at the park at 1:22 p.m. in response to a 911 call from the group that was shot at, Monticelli said.

Officers met in the 800 block of Hunt Avenue with the teens allegedly involved in the incident. The teens then gave police the names of James and Ayers, Monticelli said.

Police recovered the weapon allegedly used outside the home of one of the suspects’ acquaintances in the 700 block of Fairview Lane, Monticelli said.

Monticelli confirmed court records indicating Ayers was serving two years’ probation at the time of the incident in connection with the assault of an officer earlier this year.

Police are investigating where James obtained the handgun, which was stolen, and are looking to obtain a search warrant for James’ home and pressing charges of possession of stolen property, Monticelli said.

Monticelli said police did not know for certain the cause of the dispute. He said he heard the dispute was over things ranging from vandalism of a vehicle to a lease.

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