CARTHAGE, Mo. — A man suspected of wounding his estranged wife and killing another man Saturday morning at a Carthage motel was arrested Sunday morning in Lamar after resisting police with a knife.
Lane J. Stephens, 29, of Carthage, will likely face numerous charges in Jasper and Barton counties after authorities say he resisted Lamar police officers’ attempts to take him into custody, cutting one officer with a knife.
“We are going to be seeking charges in Barton County,” Lamar police Sgt. Dennis Cornell said. “We’ll present charges to the prosecutor for resisting arrest and assault on a law enforcement officer.”
Cornell said officers were called at about 8 a.m. Sunday to the First Christian Church of Lamar, 1208 Walnut St., for a report of a suspicious individual found while members were entering for morning services.
Cornell said the caller told officers the man could be the suspect from the Carthage homicide.
“When officers arrived they recognized it was him and tried to take him into custody,” Cornell said. “He resisted, had a knife on his person and then he stabbed himself and he cut an officer with a non-life-threatening minor injury with the knife.”
Cornell said Officer John Simpson received minor cuts but did not need medical attention.
Stephens was treated for minor cuts, released and taken to the Barton County Jail. He was brought to Carthage later on Sunday and is being held at the Jasper County Jail.
Cornell said Barton County sheriff’s officers and church members helped bring the suspect under control.
The shooting in Carthage took place shortly before 11 a.m. Saturday at the Quality Inn, 2701 Hazel Ave. in Carthage.
Carthage police spokesman Chad Dininger on Sunday identified the two victims of the shooting on Sunday as Don Pierce, 43, of Carthage, and Toni Stephens, 25, of Carthage.
Dininger said Toni Stephens and the suspect, Lane Stephens, are estranged, and that Toni Stephens told officers that Pierce was an acquaintance of hers.
Pierce was declared dead at the scene of the shooting, and Toni Stephens was treated at an area hospital for gunshot wounds. Dininger said she was released from the hospital late Saturday afternoon.
Dininger said Lane Stephens carjacked a woman at gunpoint at the Quality Inn, taking her black Dodge Ram pickup and fleeing north from the motel.
He said the suspect quickly abandoned the pickup and carjacked another woman at the O’Reilly Auto Parts parking lot, 1937 S. Garrison Ave., about 11:45 a.m Saturday.
That vehicle was last seen traveling north on Garrison Avenue, and it was found Saturday afternoon abandoned in a field several miles north of Carthage.
Dininger said the suspect was next seen at a convenience store in Jasper, where he was apparently seeking rides.
“How he got from the car to Jasper we don’t know for sure,” Dininger said. “He may have walked. It’s a little bit of distance, but it wouldn’t be unheard of for someone to walk that far.”
Dininger said an individual gave Stephens a ride from Jasper to the Lamar Lake area and dropped him off.
Dininger said officers interviewed the person who gave Stephens the ride and cleared that person of any involvement in any crimes.
“They were just being nice and were obviously not aware of the situation that was going on," Dininger said. “That person won’t face any charges.”
Cornell said officers from Lamar, Barton County, Carthage and the Missouri State Highway Patrol searched the Lamar Lake area for several hours, using tracking dogs and a state patrol helicopter, but didn’t find him before calling it a night.
They were preparing to resume the search when the call came in from the church.
“The Lamar Lake is on the southeast side of town, and the church is pretty much right in the center of town,” Cornell said. “It’s very possible he walked from the lake to the church.”