A white man shot a black neighbor in Missouri and insisted on self-defense. Neighbors tell another story.


The deadly shooting of a black man at Trailer Park has shaken the rural community of Missouri. Neighbors say they witnessed a murder controversy in the police story of the case.

Justin King, a 28-year-old black man and Filipino man, was shot dead at 11:45 am on November 3. It is located in the small town of Bourbon, about 73 miles southwest of St. Louis.

Police say he was shot by the owner of the house he was trying to break into, but witnesses and his family say he was shot with “cold blood” by a man he called a friend.

King succumbed to his wounds on the scene. The 42-year-old white neighbor who shot him was detained and later released.

Justin King and his daughter.  (Courtesy: John King)

Justin King and his daughter. (Courtesy: John King)

The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said King was shot “after forcing access to a nearby dwelling where the quarrel took place.”The homeowner shot King “afraid of his life,” the department said. news release..

The agency said evidence, video surveillance, and statements “preliminarily support the description of the homeowner’s case.”

However, King’s family and five people living in Trailer Park told NBC News that they doubted the story.

The three neighbors told NBC News that the shooter was a man with a history of violence and known to use racial adjectives, expressing his desire to kill someone. Some neighbors said King and the shooter were friends.

Justin King was shot outside his neighbor’s house and did not enter, contrary to the sheriff’s explanation, President Nimrod Chapel Jr. of the NAACP, Missouri, who represents the King family.

“The only person who says it’s an invasion of the house is the man who shot my son,” King’s father, John King, told NBC News. “And all the neighbors say,’No, you shot him with cold blood outside.'”

“He didn’t wear a shirt, he only wore the bottom of his pajamas, so how was he a threat?” John King said. “Justin was shot with cold blood outside the daytime.”

under Missouri “Castle Doctrine” LawIndividuals are allowed to use deadly forces against intruders without obligation to withdraw, based on the idea that their home is “their castle”.

The unnamed and unindicted shooter did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment.

What happened on November 3rd

Neighbors described King as a lucky man who always helped. He recently moved from St. Louis to Bourbon and was near his 9-year-old daughter Harley.

Trailer Park’s manager, Resa Stiller, said he saw King heading for his neighbor’s trailer shortly before filming. Suddenly she heard “pop, pop, pop”.

“And in that last pop, I saw Justin raise his hand into the air and slowly stagger backwards,” Stiller recalled, near the outdoor front step of the shooter trailer. She pointed out that he did not see King enter the trailer itself, and that King and the archer lived facing each other.

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“I heard him say,’I thought we were friends.'” [the neighbor] “We were!” And he walked back slowly, “she said.

Another neighbor, Katie Bosek, described King as “a gentle man who helped everyone.” She said she helped find the missing dog on the same day as the shooting. Later that day, she said King and the neighbor who shot him worked together to repair her car.

“They both went under the hood together. They were laughing and chopping it up when they were doing it,” she said.

She claimed to have seen King and his neighbor walk together. She heard three bullets about 15 minutes later and said she rushed to the window to see King lying on the ground.

Trina Wilson, who lives some trailers behind the shooter, said, “He knew Justin. If your friend came to your house, you would say,” Hey man, what do you do? Why do you rely on automatically pulling out the gun and shooting him? How could this even go down as self-defense? “

The chapel said the neighbor and the king had a camera in their house. Police have not released video footage of the incident to the general public or their families, but said they “watched all the videos we had at their disposal.” The Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said it intends to share the footage “during the final case review by the county prosecutor.”

King’s death destroyed a close community in the small town of Bourbon, home to 1,600 inhabitants.

“Since then, I’ve been crazy about it. It’s been 20 years since I came here, and I’ve never done that in this little little town,” said another neighbor, Earl McCoy. .. “We take care of each other here. It’s eerily quiet here. It was like a haunted town.”

History of threatening violence and racist language

The three people in the park said the neighbor who shot King had previously threatened violence.

Stiller said his neighbor is known for showing off his gun — including once at the party she threw on October 30th.

“He wouldn’t go anywhere without that .32 on his belt,” she said.

Bosek recalled King telling her a few months before the shooting that his neighbor threatened to shoot him.

“Justin came about two months before all this happened. He said,” Did you know he threatened to shoot me? Yes, the man threatened to shoot me. ” She said. “Justin was a very nice person. He always forgave people and came back.”

McCoy said the shooter “had a gun all over the house.”

“The last thing I talked about was [the neighbor] It was when I showed everyone a little pistol at a Halloween party, “McCoy said. I shoot my mother —. “

King’s father believed that shooting was an act of “racist hatred,” and said his son was the only black man in the trailer community.

The two neighbors also said that archers are known to use racial slurs.

“He was always open to N-words. He never said he was” black, “” Stiller said.

“He will be vague [racial epithets] out. If he stood around me and Justin, he wouldn’t call it Justin. Because he knows I’ll knock him off, “McCoy said.

The neighbor who shot the King has a criminal record that includes violence. According to court records, he was arrested in June 2017 and charged with a second assault and illegal use of weapons while he was drunk on both felony charges.

Court records do not indicate whether these accusations were dismissed. The Crawford County Court Secretary declined to comment, and the Crawford County Prosecutor’s Office did not respond to NBC News’ request for comment on these allegations.

Federal law generally prohibits people from possessing firearms when convicted of a felony. Gifford Law Center to Prevent Gun Violence.. In addition, Missouri prohibits the possession of firearms by persons convicted of felony under Missouri law.

Anger over handling the case

John King said he was indignant when he saw the sheriff’s agent bring the shooter back to the trailer the day after his son’s death.

The family is calling the sheriff’s department with local activists to request a thorough investigation.

“I feel like I was betrayed by all the police,” said King’s mother, Eva Brands. “They aren’t fair. I don’t know if it’s because of the color or the murderer’s way.”

“Nothing has been done in the investigation,” she said. “Twenty-four hours later, he got out of jail. I don’t know what justice it is.”

Crawford County Sheriff Darin Rayman said in a statement that all the information shared so far in this case was “accurate with respect to our investigation and findings.”

“Our office does not provide evidence to support the idea that this is a racially motivated case,” he said. “We contacted the FBI regarding this investigation and requested assistance in processing some of the evidence collected.”

The Missouri FBI declined to comment on the incident.

Currently, the family is focused on getting answers about what happened before King’s death.

“The family wants to ensure that anyone responsible for the death of their son is held accountable,” said Chapel, a royal lawyer. “But now we settle for the disclosure of the truth.”

So far, no proceedings have been filed, but the chapel said it “does not exclude anything at this time.”

State-wide problem of failing to investigate the death of a black man

Chapel said the lack of action in King’s case was part of a state-wide problem when it came to investigating the deaths of African Americans, pointing out the cases of Tory Sanders and Delonte Martin.

Sanders, a 28-year-old black prisoner in a local prison, died in May 2017 in a situation similar to George Floyd after a white law enforcement officer pressed his knees against his neck. Wrongful death lawsuit Submitted by his family.Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmidt Refused to file a complaint With his death.

19-year-old Martin was found dead on April 25 with a gunshot wound in his head at the home of a white man who posted a racist meme on social media. Authorities concluded that he had died of suicide, but in July, six juries heard that and ruled in a coroner’s cause of death hearing. Martin was killed in violence..

“It’s Jim Crow’s justice,” Chapel said. “This is a state-wide issue. In Justin’s case, they claim there is an investigation, but they give the investigation results before the investigation is complete. What kind of police work is it?”

The NAACP branch of Missouri Travel self-restraint recommendation “Race, gender, and color-based crime has a long history in Missouri,” so in 2017 it is still valid today, warning people to travel carefully in the state.

“What Missouri needs is to make sure that law enforcement agencies are trying to treat people in the way the Constitution requires, whether you are a criminal offender or a victim of a crime. To do this, we have to monitor the federal government, regardless of skin color. ”

On November 16, the Crawford County Sheriff’s Office said an investigation into King’s death was still open, evidence was processed, and sent for laboratory analysis. The agency also said that the Crawford County Public Prosecutor’s Office will conduct an informal case review and follow-up with witnesses and evidence gathering.