Police kept busy after string of shootings, robberies

Sunday, November 4, 2007 | 5:17 p.m. CST; updated 6:06 p.m. CDT, Monday, July 21, 2008

COLUMBIA — During a span of about four hours early Sunday morning, Columbia police responded to five gun-related incidents: two reports of shots being fired, two assaults with guns and an armed robbery.

“It’s turning into a city that never sleeps,” Columbia police Sgt. Ken Gregory said. “Every shift is now extremely busy.”

Nights like these are becoming more common, he said.

“Things are not slow anymore,” Gregory said. “We have a lot of shots fired calls lately.”

The following are details of the incidents, according to police news releases:

• At 1:12 a.m., police responded to a report of shots fired in the 1400 block of Raleigh Drive. During a search of the area, police found shell casings in the driveway of 1411 Raleigh Drive, confirming a shot had been fired. Police said the residents of the home said they had not heard the shot. Police have no suspect information and no one was injured.

• At about 1:18 a.m., a police officer heard five shots coming from the parking lot of Bambino’s Italian Cafe, 203 Hitt St. Officers questioned some of the about 40 people outside the restaurant, but no one provided any information about where the gunfire came from. Police said no one was injured and they had no suspect information.

• At about 1:33 a.m., police arrested a Columbia man on suspicion of second-degree assault, armed criminal action, obstructing a government operation and second-degree trafficking of a controlled substance.

Police arrested 19-year-old Andre S. Hayes after they say he shot at another car on Interstate 70.

Police said the victim, a 29-year-old Warren, Ark., man, turned east onto I-70 from Providence Road. A second vehicle was following close behind and tried to pass the first car on the on-ramp, police said. The second vehicle pulled alongside the victim, who said he saw a person in the other car holding a gun outside the window. The victim said he heard a shot and something hitting his car.

Police said suspect vehicle exited onto Highway 63. The victim called 911 and drove to the Lake of the Woods Exit before stopping.

After the victim described the car, police pulled the second car over on Paris Road near Hathman Place and detained the three people inside. A search of the car revealed three grams of crack cocaine and a gun underneath the driver’s seat, police said.

Police arrested Hayes, who initially gave police a false name, police said. Two other people in the car were not charged. Hayes was being held Sunday at Boone County Jail on $151,500 bond.

• At 2:12 a.m., police received a report of a gunshot victim at University Hospital. The victim said he was shot in the leg at approximately 1:45 a.m. in an alley behind the 500 block of Park Avenue. Police said the shooting was in retaliation for an Oct. 9 shooting on Park Avenue that injured two people.

Gregory said he didn’t know if the shootings were classified as gang-related but said they were between “two different groups who are involved in illegal activity.”

The victim provided no suspect information and was listed in fair condition at the time of the release.

• At about 3:49 a.m., police arrested a Columbia man on suspicion of second-degree robbery and resisting arrest. Police arrested Maurice D. Figures, 18, after they say he robbed a man at gunpoint at the corner of Garth Avenue and Ash Street.

The victim, a 20-year-old Columbia man, said he was sitting in his car when three black men approached him. One of the men showed a handgun and demanded money. The men then fled the area on foot with an undisclosed amount of cash.

Police saw three men matching the suspects’ description, and when approached, the men ran. Police were able to catch one of the suspects after a short foot chase but the other two got away. Police set up a perimeter and contacted the Ashland Police Department for K-9 unit assistance.

Police said Figures admitted in interviews to being at the scene of the robbery. He was being held Sunday at the Boone County Jail. Bond had not yet been set.

Anyone with information about these incidents may call CrimeStoppers at 875-8477.

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