By Jeff Lehr
JOPLIN, Mo. —
A suspect accused of trying to run down two Joplin police officers with a sport utility vehicle early Sunday was winged in an arm and hand when the officers shot at him in response, police said.
Brandon J. Knoderer, 32, underwent surgery Monday at a Joplin hospital to remove bullet fragments from his right arm and left hand. He was transferred to University Hospital in Columbia when doctors were unable to remove all the fragments, according to Joplin police. His injuries are not of a life-threatening nature, police said.
The Newton County prosecutor’s office on Monday charged Knoderer with two counts of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer. The charges carry a combined bond amount of $500,000, and University of Missouri police were assisting local law enforcement in maintaining custody of Knoderer.
Police Lt. Brian Lewis said the officers-involved shooting about 1:10 a.m. Sunday near the intersection of 36th Street and Finley Avenue remains under investigation by the Joplin Police Department. Cpl. Thomas Bowin and Officer Luke Stahl were placed on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation as a matter of departmental policy, Lewis said.
Knoderer reportedly pulled over and shut off the engine of his Ford Expedition when Bowin initiated a traffic stop at the location. But Knoderer failed to comply with any of Bowin’s subsequent commands, according to a probable-cause affidavit filed in Newton County Circuit Court.
The affidavit states that Knoderer rolled up his windows after stopping and refused to roll them back down to speak with Bowin. He then reportedly began reaching into vehicle compartments in opposition to Bowin’s instructions.
As other officers, including Stahl, arrived on the scene, Bowin “again ordered Knoderer to exit the vehicle,” the affidavit states. He instead locked the doors. When officers began trying to break side windows to gain entry to the Expedition, he restarted the vehicle and backed it up at a high rate of speed, the affidavit alleges.
Knoderer is accused of accelerating forward directly at Bowin, prompting the officer to fire several rounds “as he ran backwards to avoid being struck” by the Expedition. As Bowin managed to get out of his path, Knoderer allegedly drove toward Stahl as he was returning to his patrol car. Stahl then fired his weapon at the driver just as Bowin fired a second series of shots.
Knoderer reportedly fled to a family member’s home in 3700 block of South Ferguson Avenue, where he parked the Expedition and went inside. Police took him into custody at that location a short time later.
Lewis said the Expedition remains in police custody, and a search warrant is expected to be executed on the vehicle today or Wednesday. He said bullet trajectory analysis will be conducted after that, along with interviews of the officers and the suspect.
Lewis said the suspect appeared to have been shot two or three times, depending on whether two wounds to his right arm were caused by a single bullet or two. He said the total number of shots fired by the officers remains under investigation.
Pills and pot
PRESCRIPTION NARCOTIC PILLS and marijuana allegedly were discovered in Brandon Knoderer’s possession, according to police.