Carter County, MO - Authorities are searching for booby traps and explosives around the property where a gunman shot a Carter County sheriff’s deputy and a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper on Friday morning.
The gunman, 31-year-old James D. Cummings, surrendered early Friday evening after a more than five-hour standoff with law enforcement, KYTV reported.
The incident began just before 10 a.m. on Aug. 16 near Route M, northwest of Poplar Bluff, in Carter County, KMOV reported.
“Officers from the Missouri State Highway Patrol were assisting the Carter County Sheriff’s Department at a residence in rural Carter County near Van Buren, Missouri,” the Missouri State Highway Patrol wrote in a statement released shortly after the standoff began. “After attempting to contact the occupant, a male suspect began firing from inside the residence.
“Both a Missouri state trooper and a Carter County deputy were struck by gunfire,” the statement continued. “They have been transported to area hospitals. The suspect remains inside the residence. This incident is ongoing. Additional updates will be provided as more information becomes available.”
Missouri State Highway Patrol Sergeant Clark Parrott said the suspect shot the Carter County deputy in the leg, groin, and chest, KFVS reported.
A trooper who was on the scene was able to drag the deputy from the house after he was shot, KFVS reported.
The deputy – later identified as Carter County Deputy Brigg Pierson - was airlifted to a shock trauma unit at a St. Louis-area hospital for treatment, KYTV reported.
Deputy Pierson was in stable condition at a St. Louis hospital on Friday night, KFVS reported.
The state trooper was shot in the shoulder and in his ballistic vest, Sgt. Parrott said.
He has been identified as Missouri State Highway Patrol Trooper Caleb McCoy, KYTV reported.
Trooper McCoy was released from the hospital on Friday evening to recover at home.
During the hours-long standoff, Federal Bureau of Investigations (FBI) negotiators and state patrol SWAT negotiators repeatedly tried to make contact with the gunman, KFVS reported.
After more than five hours of being barricaded inside the home, the gunman gave up and came out with his hands up.
“You don’t know what you’re approaching,” Missouri State Highway Patrol Corporal Dallas Thompson told reporters. "You don’t know who’s in the house. You don’t know what their intents to harm you are. So when they open the door and open fire, if you are able to walk away from that with even some serious injuries you can heal from, we’re very thankful.”
Authorities kept a perimeter around the home after the standoff ended while an explosives-detecting robot searched the property for booby traps family members warned police might be there, KFVS reported.
Missouri Governor Michael Parson, a former member of law enforcement, posted a message on Facebook that called the incident an “ambush on the officers” and posted a message of support and inspiration for law enforcement across his state.
“Just like these two, officers across the state are devoted to making our state safer despite the risks they face every day,” Parson wrote. “It takes a selfless, caring person to take on such missions, and I appreciate all our Missouri officers for making it their life’s work.”
“Public safety is not work that attracts people looking to become wealthy or famous. It’s a calling for people who want to make a difference and make their communities stronger,” the governor continued. “I know because I worked alongside them during my 22 years as a member of Missouri’s public safety community, 12 of those years as the Sheriff of Polk County.”
“Thank you to ALL of our Missouri officers for everything you do on behalf of your neighbors, your communities, and our state. Missourians are behind you and are praying for your safety,” he wrote.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol bomb squad was searching the property, KYTV reported.