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Police Officer, Court Worker Killed During Eviction

18 Mar, 2024 Liz Carey

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Independence, MO (WorkersCompensation.com) – Officials in Independent Missouri said a police officer and a court worker were killed earlier this month while they were trying to serve an eviction.

Two other people were injured after a 68-year-old man shot at officers of the court trying to eviction the man after a yearlong court fight, likely due to unpaid taxes, officials said.

Cody Allen, an Independence police officer and Drexel Mack, an employee of the Jackson County Circuit Court, were killed when they tried to serve the eviction notice to Larry Acree from the property. According to Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker, four people were shot, including two other officers from the Independence Police Department. The two other officers were recovering from their injuries, he said.

Officials said the officers and Mack knocked on the door and announced their presence, but had no indication that anyone was home. When the locks were removed and the officers and Mack entered the front, they were greeted with a rain of bullets.

Officers rushed to Mack’s side and tried to remove him from the property, but they were also greeted with gunfire. Rescuers were unable to get to either Mack, and he died on the scene. The officer died later at the hospital. More officers were called to the scene, and they were able to shoot Acree and take him into custody.

Law enforcement and prosecutors said they are looking into why Acree was being evicted, but it initially looked like he had no legal right to the property because he had unpaid taxes. Baker said the eviction process for Acree had started around February 9 of last year.

Acree is being held on a $2 million bond. He was taken to the hospital following the incident and officials said he is expected to face more charges because of the shooting.

An investigation into the shooting will now be handled by the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Jackson County Circuit Judge announced that Acree’s case would not go through Jackson County, and that officials and judges will recuse themselves because Mack was a court process server. The case will go to another judge in another county, officials said.

Missouri Gov. Mike Parson released a statement on X as the situation unfolded.

"Teresa and I are praying for the @IndepMoPolice officers involved and all who work to protect us," Parson said.

It was one of two reported officer shooting fatalities this month.

In New Mexico, Officer Justin Hare was killed as he tried to investigate a disable vehicle.

New Mexico State Police Chief Troy Weisler said Hare had parked his vehicle behind Jaremy Smith’s disabled vehicle on I-40 near Tucumcari. After a brief conversation, Weisler said, Smith allegedly pulled a gun out and shot Hare two times. Smith then drove away in Hare’s patrol car. Officials said Smith crashed the patrol car not long after.

Hare was taken to a nearby hospital, Weisler said, where he was pronounced dead.

“On a cold, dark and windy morning, he offered help to a person he thought was in need,” Weisler said Saturday at a news conference. “That person killed him in cold blood. The last words Officer Hare uttered on this earth was to offer help to a man who was about to kill him.”

Smith was found to have an extensive criminal history in South Carolina. At a news conference, Weisler said Smith faced charges ranging from armed robbery, taking hostages and rioting in jail, as well as auto theft.

Smith is also considered a person of interest in the death of South Carolina paramedic Phonesia Machado-Fore. Her body was discovered near the South Carolina – North Carolina border in early March.

Smith was captured after a foot race on Sunday morning, authorities said. Bernalillo County Sheriff’s Office said during the press conference that it had received a report from a gas station clerk that a man matching Smith’s description had been in the store. Law enforcement went to the gas station and found him walking nearby. Law enforcement officers set up a perimeter to capture him.

“During this time, as they had an eye on Mr. Smith, a foot pursuit ensued,” Allen said. “Shots were fired. Some shots (struck) Smith – we don’t know the amount right now, or how many. That’s still under investigation.”

Smith was taken to a local hospital and treated for his injuries. He faces charges stemming from Hare’s murder, as well as a number of other charges connected to Machado-Fore’s death.

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    About The Author

    • Liz Carey

      Liz Carey has worked as a writer, reporter and editor for nearly 25 years. First, as an investigative reporter for Gannett and later as the Vice President of a local Chamber of Commerce, Carey has covered everything from local government to the statehouse to the aerospace industry. Her work as a reporter, as well as her work in the community, have led her to become an advocate for the working poor, as well as the small business owner.

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