A man was shot and killed by a Missouri trooper Monday night, resulting in an ongoing investigation.
The 50-year-old man, identified as Thomas E. Schroeder, was from Omaha, Nebraska, according to a news release from the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
The incident occurred at 8:16 p.m. when a member of the Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Troop H stopped a Chevrolet Tahoe for speeding on Interstate 29 near Craig, Missouri. The altercation began when the trooper believed Schroeder was intoxicated and arrested him on charges of driving while intoxicated, according to the news release.
When Schroeder attempted to get back into his car and drive, the trooper used pepper spray. Schroeder continued to resist during the dispute, which ultimately led the trooper to shoot Schroeder, according to the news release.
"If an officer, or any person, feels the need to take a life to defend theirs, I completely understand," said Matt Akins, founder of Citizens for Justice, a Columbia-based resource to educate the public on local law enforcement. "I just hope the trooper involved in this shooting accurately surveyed the situation prior to making the choice he did. Once you pull the trigger, you can't take the bullet back."
The Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control is currently conducting the investigation. Investigators found Schroeder had several types of identification, including multiple drivers licenses. This made it difficult to identify Schroeder immediately, and his family was not notified until Tuesday night, according to the news release.
"From an investigative standpoint, I hope they objectively and fairly assess the situation from all sides," Akins said. "That can be a hard thing to do when the person you're investigating is someone you know and work closely with on a regular basis."
The highway patrol’s Troop H has 78 uniformed members. Its headquarters is located in St. Joseph. Troop H serves 15 counties in northwest Missouri, including Holt County, where the shooting took place.
In 2011, the highway patrol made 9,346 DWI alcohol and drug intoxication arrests. There were 2,428 law officers assaulted in 2011, and seven officers were killed, according to the highway patrol’s Statistical Analysis Center.
There are currently no public records available as to how many times state troopers have harmed a suspect during an altercation.