NEOSHO, Mo. — The Newton County prosecutor has charged a Carthage man who was shot during an altercation Saturday at a residence near Diamond with two counts of vehicular assault.
Bradley S. Williams, 47, was shot in an upper arm, jaw and nose with a 12-gauge shotgun during a confrontation with Jason Johnson, 34, and Verlin Wallis, 31, both of Carthage, at a residence on Route J, about 3 miles east of Diamond.
Williams was flown by medical helicopter to Mercy Hospital Springfield. He was reported to be in serious condition at the time, although his wounds were not deemed life-threatening.
Williams, who has since been released from the hospital, was charged Friday with two counts of first-degree assault with a vehicle following an investigation of the incident by the Newton County Sheriff's Department. A probable-cause affidavit indicates that investigators determined that Johnson shot Williams in self-defense while Williams was trying to hit Johnson and Wallis with a stolen car.
The affidavit indicates that the altercation began when Williams showed up at Johnson's residence in Carthage in the company of Justin Thomas and urinated on the door of Johnson's residence before entering his home without his permission and issuing threats "to kill everyone," including Johnson's children, over a purported theft of data from his cellphone.
Williams told Johnson that he was a Joplin Honkie and demanded that Johnson take him to his roommate Wallis, who Williams believed was involved with Johnson in the theft of his data.
Johnson told him that he did not have enough gas to take him to the residence near Diamond where Wallis was working and that he would have to go to his wife's place of employment to get the money needed for gas. Williams then followed Johnson to his wife's place of work, where Lisa Johnson would not let her husband leave without her, according to the affidavit.
The document states that Williams and Thomas followed the couple to a Carthage convenience store, where they obtained fuel and Lisa Johnson managed to convey to a clerk that the men lurking outside in the other vehicle were "harassing" them. She also managed to call 911 and ask police to check on the welfare of the Johnsons' children left behind at their residence. She also called a neighbor to go to their home and get their children.
The Johnsons arrived at the residence near Diamond with Williams and Thomas in tow behind them, and Lisa Johnson jumped out of the couple's truck and ran toward the house. As Wallis emerged from the residence, Williams drove straight at him and tried to run him over, the Johnsons and Wallis told investigators.
Deputies located tire marks in the grass of the yard that appeared to corroborate their accounts, according to the affidavit. Investigators also found marks on a tree that matched Justin Johnson's account that Williams struck a tree at least twice with the car trying to run them down.
Johnson told investigators that he ran to his truck and grabbed his shotgun at that point and shot at the car. He told deputies that he was unsure if he fired the gun two or three times before Williams finally sped away and they called 911.
Wallis also was unsure how many shots were fired by Johnson. He told investigators that at one point, Williams ran into a barbed wire fence trying to run them down and the front license plate of the vehicle became entangled in the barbed wire and came off as he backed up. The affidavit states that the plate was located at the scene and corresponding damage noted on the car.
Thomas, who was arrested on outstanding warrants in the aftermath, told sheriff's investigators that Williams got locked out of his phone and became convinced that Wallis or Johnson stole his data. Thomas denied that Williams was trying to run them down with the vehicle. According to the affidavit, he claimed they just happened to be in front of the car as Williams was trying to turn around.
Thomas told investigators that after the shooting, they drove to the nearest residence to try to get help. But no one would help them there, he said. He switched seats with Williams and drove to a second residence in an effort to get help and ended up calling 911 himself on his phone.
Thomas told investigators that he "freaked out" at that point and took off on his own. A Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper located and detained Thomas less than a mile from where Williams was found wounded inside the vehicle, which had been reported stolen in Carthage.
Two counts of burglary and a third count of stealing were being sought on Williams in connection with incidents at two addresses in Carthage before the shooting. Williams allegedly pushed his way into the residence of David Erskin at 1247 Sophia St. and stole his Ford Taurus before showing up at the home of the Johnsons.