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Man charged in deadly Independence shooting had lost home over thousands in unpaid taxes

The man charged in the Thursday fatal shooting of a civil process server and Independence police officer had recently lost his home and property over unpaid taxes.

As civil process server Drexel Mack attempted to serve eviction papers, a man at the home opened fire, authorities said Thursday. They identified that man Friday morning as Larry D. Acree, the home’s former owner. He has been charged two counts of first-degree murder, assault in the first degree for wounding a police officer and three additional counts of armed criminal action.

Three Independence police officers who arrived to help were also shot, one fatally.

Mack, 42, and Officer Cody Allen, 35, died at an Independence hospital. The two other officers were wounded but are expected to make full recoveries, police said.

Jackson County property records show that an Independence man purchased the home and property — valued in 2023 at $675,500 — and had just paid back taxes on it last week. The new owner wrote a personal check for $18,543 to cover taxes from 2022 and 2023.

According to the probable cause affidavit explaining the charges, a “notice to vacate” was posted in a conspicuous place on the premises on Feb. 23. It said the notice was a result of a request for a “writ of possession” that was completed Feb. 9.

Mack arrived at the home in the 1110 block of North Elsea Smith Road shortly after 1 p.m. Thursday. Independence police said that he was shot, leaving him wounded outside the home.

Drexel Mack, a civil process server for the Jackson County Circuit Court, was shot and killed during an eviction Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Independence. Mack had worked for the court for 12 years. An independence police also died.
Drexel Mack, a civil process server for the Jackson County Circuit Court, was shot and killed during an eviction Thursday, Feb. 29, 2024, in Independence. Mack had worked for the court for 12 years. An independence police also died.

Acree was taken into custody and transported to an area hospital. Independence Police Chief Adam Dustman on Thursday would not discuss his injuries or any details about what happened at the home.

Larry D. Acree’s tax problems

Jackson County property records show Acree bought the 9-acre property in 2005. The three-bedroom house — which is 2,419 square feet — was built the same year, records indicate.

Court and property records also show that Acree has had financial troubles for years, filing bankruptcy in 1992 and again in 2004. In 2012, the Missouri Department of Revenue filed a tax lien on him, and a judgment was entered for $12,628.

His wages were garnished from GSM Corp., and the judgment was satisfied in 2016.

Records show Acree also owed back taxes from 2019 through 2023 of $1,150 for a livestock trailer, two utility trailers, a pickup, an SUV and two horse trailers.

In the summer of 2023, a roofing company issued a real estate levy against Acree’s property for $32,155.34.

Records show the new owner bought the property on Aug. 14, 2023, for $260,000 in a delinquent tax sale. The sale was confirmed on Nov. 20. On Feb. 22, records show the new owner paid the $18,543 in back taxes.

‘Simply devastated’

Two law enforcement communities in Jackson County are struggling with the loss of Allen and Mack.

Officer Allen “always had a smile” on his face, Dustman said.

“He was the guy that when you went out on a call he would be there and he would defuse things in a moment’s notice,” Dustman said Thursday. “He was right there to back you up.”

Presiding Jackson County Circuit Court Judge Jalilah Otto said in a release Thursday evening that the impact of the loss would linger.

“We are simply devastated that someone who is doing their job on behalf of the Court could be shot and killed,” Otto said. “We send our sincere condolences to the family of Mr. Mack, and the families of the Independence Police Department officers who also suffered tragedies today.”