Dennis Darks dances across the stage to receive his diploma

Dennis Darks dances across the stage to receive his diploma Aug. 2 at Battle High School. Columbia Public School Superintendent Peter Stiepleman joined in the celebration before handing Darks his diploma cover.

A 19-year-old Columbia man was shot and killed early Friday morning in the 4300 block of East Santa Barbara Drive, the Boone County Sheriff’s Department said in a news release.

The victim is Dennis C. Darks. He was shot between midnight and 1 a.m., the Sheriff’s Department said.

Capt. Brian Leer of the Sheriff’s Department said there were multiple reports of gunshots in the area. Deputies were on the scene investigating damage to a home when they were told someone had been shot and taken in a private vehicle to Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

It was later discovered that Darks was in a parked vehicle when he was shot. He was pronounced dead at the hospital.

Darks was a 2020 graduate of Battle High School and was featured in an August article on the commencement ceremony.

Detectives were continuing to investigate the cause of the shooting. There had been no arrests by early Friday afternoon.

Anyone with information about the shooting is encouraged to contact the Boone County Sheriff’s Department through Boone County Joint Communications at 573-442-6131 or 311. Those who want to remain anonymous can call CrimeStoppers at 573-875-8477.

  • General Assignment Reporter, Spring 2021 Studying Journalism with an emphasis in Magazine Writing Reach me at, or in the newsroom at (573) 882-5700

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