Police investigate two shooting incidents in Poplar Bluff

Thursday, September 2, 2010

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- Authorities are searching for witnesses as they continue to investigate shots fired at two locations Tuesday night that left one man with a gunshot wound to the knee, the Daily American Republic reported.

"Just shortly after 9 o'clock last night, officers were dispatched to the area of Relief and Sanders (streets) in reference to shots fired," explained Poplar Bluff Deputy Chief Jeff Rolland. "Responding patrol officers received word that an individual was shot, and they tracked him down at Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center."

The man, identified as Paris Thomas, 21, of Poplar Bluff, Mo., was suffering from a gunshot wound to his left knee, Rolland said.

Detectives, according to Rolland, responded to interview Thomas, who subsequently was treated and released.

"He provided vague details and refused to cooperate with the investigation," Rolland said.

At this time, Rolland said, officers believe the shooting happened on Harper Street, outside a parked vehicle, near the Mini Park.

"There was no physical evidence at that location to substantiate the claims of Mr. Thomas," Rolland said.

Officers, he said, have identified some witnesses to the shooting, and are "proceeding in interviewing those individuals," as well as tracking down other potential witnesses to be interviewed.

"We're hoping (those interviews) will provide additional leads and witnesses," Rolland said.

Officers, he said, again responded at about 11 p.m. to shots fired in the 600 block of North Sixth Street.

"At this time, it appears the shots fired in the 600 block of North Sixth Street were in retaliation for the shooting at the Mini Park, where Paris Thomas was shot in the knee," Rolland explained. " ... We've identified some witnesses to this incident.

"They are being interviewed as we speak, and we anticipate bringing charges against the responsible parties."

Officers, according to Chief Danny Whiteley, are familiar with the individuals involved "through our narcotics division, and our main concern at this time, since the individual who was shot is an unwilling participant in the investigation, are the innocent bystanders of the community."

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