Jackson County prosecutors have charged a 40-year-old man with three felonies in a Wednesday night shooting outside a Kansas City gas station that was witnessed by a police officer.
Matthew Whitmill, of St. Joseph, was arrested after a police chase through Kansas City ended when a tire-deflation device was used to disable the vehicle Whitmill was driving.
Whitmill is accused of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and resisting arrest by fleeing. He was being held Friday in the Jackson County jail on a $50,000 bond.
On Wednesday, around 11:45 p.m., a Kansas City police sergeant, whose name is omitted from court documents, was in his marked patrol on Cleveland Avenue at Truman Road when he heard a single gunshot coming from the east.
The police sergeant turned and saw a man pointing a gun and standing over the shooting victim. The man fired twice more, got in a car and started to drive away.
In the parking lot was a gunshot victim with wounds to both legs. The sergeant pursued the shooter as an ambulance responded to take the shooting victim to the hospital.
After Whitmill’s vehicle was disabled, the 40-year-old exited and got on the ground as he was placed under arrest. Responding officers reported finding a teal-colored 9mm handgun between the passenger seat and center console of his Pontiac Bonneville.
During an interview with detectives, Whitmill allegedly admitted to shooting the person but said he did so because he was scared of him. He said they are coworkers at the U.S. Postal Service facility down the street and had been having heated arguments recently.
Whitmill told police he encountered his coworker while visiting the gas station to buy cigarettes and was threatened verbally. He told them he was afraid because his coworker is younger and bigger than him.
Surveillance video from the gas station shows Whitmill pull into the parking lot about five minutes before the shooting. The gunshot victim, whose name is not included in court documents, is shot a few seconds after walking up to the rear side of the car.
Another witness interviewed by police said she was pumping gas when she heard a popping noise. She said she yelled out “you don’t have to do this” as she saw a man pointing the pistol.
Under Missouri law, first-degree assault is a Class A felony that carries a maximum term of 30 years, or life in prison, for those convicted.
Court documents did not list a defense attorney for Whitmill as of Friday.