Man arrested in connection with Poplar Bluff shooting

Friday, May 13, 2011

POPLAR BLUFF, Mo. -- A Wappapello, Mo., man was charged Thursday morning with assault and weapons-related offenses in connection with a weekend shooting that left a local man with wounds to his face.

David Owen Dudley, 54, was charged with first-degree assault, the unclassified felony of armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a firearm by Butler County Prosecuting Attorney Kevin Barbour. He is charged with causing serious physical injury to Michael Joseph Smith, 56, by shooting him.

Associate Circuit Judge John Bloodworth issued a warrant for Dudley's arrest and set his bond at $250,000 cash or surety. Dudley was set to appear at 1 p.m. Thursday for arraignment before Bloodworth.

Dudley and his 51-year-old wife, Cindy Gaye Dudley, were arrested Wednesday in connection with the shooting just hours after Smith was released from Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis. Cindy Dudley had not been charged as of Thursday morning.

Smith had been flown to the St. Louis hospital after initially being treated locally for a gunshot wound to the mouth, which had exited near his right ear.

Smith had been injured at about 8:25 p.m. Monday at his apartment in the 1300 block of West Harper Street.

Upon Poplar Bluff Police Patrolman Josh Stewart's arrival, he said he found Smith standing in front of the apartment complex, waving his arms.

"I observed Mr. Smith to have blood covering most of his body; however, most of it appeared to be coming from his face," Stewart said in his report.

Due to Smith's injuries, Stewart said, he was unable to determine who had allegedly shot Smith and whether he was still on the scene.

Stewart said he began rendering first aid to Smith, whose injuries were consistent of "a single gunshot wound to the mouth, which appeared to have exited through his right cheek."

When emergency medical services personnel arrived, Stewart said, he turned Smith over to them for treatment and secured the scene.

Stewart said he and Sgt. Butch Mobley were led to Smith's apartment by a blood trail, which also led from that apartment to another apartment, as well as along a walkway to the road.

Smith's apartment subsequently was entered and secured.

"Upon entering (Smith's apartment), I observed there to still be smoke in the air, as well as the smell of gunpowder," Stewart said.

After securing the apartment, Stewart said, he was contacted by Earletta Shaw, who lived there with Smith and had witnessed the shooting. "She stated a white male subject named David had shot Mr. Smith," he said.

Shaw subsequently was taken to the police department to be interviewed by detectives.

As part of the investigation, Stewart said, he also contacted the occupants of the apartment where the blood trail led.

"Both advised they were laying in bed and heard a single gunshot," Stewart said. "A short time later, they were contacted by Ms. Shaw knocking on the door, stating Mr. Smith had been shot" and asking them to call the police, which they did.

When Detective Bryce Colvin arrived, Stewart said, the scene was turned over to him for processing.

According to Colvin's report, he contacted Smith at the scene before him being taken to the hospital for treatment.

Colvin described Smith as suffering a "large laceration in the middle of his top lip. Skin around the cut was black and appeared to be caused from close contact burns of a firearm.

"Smith also had a large laceration on his right cheek."

When Smith was asked who shot him, he "replied 'Dave,' and described him as a white male."

Colvin said he found several large droplets of blood on the vinyl flooring in front of the door and on the carpet in the living room. He said he also followed the blood trail and found blood on a wall, where it appeared to have been smeared by Smith's hands.

While processing the scene, Colvin said, he searched for a spent shell casing, as well as the "bullet impact."

Colvin said he located what appeared to be a bullet hole in the paneling on one of the walls in the apartment. Inside, he said, he noticed something that appeared to be metallic and round.

With the assistance of the Poplar Bluff Fire Department, Colvin said, the section of wall surrounding the impact area was removed layer by layer; however, no metal object was found.

"As we cleared the projectile path, I found that it cleared through all layers (entering into) the paneling of the adjacent apartment," Colvin said.

It appeared the bullet hit the paneling in the adjacent apartment; however, did not penetrate through, Colvin said.

"A search of the removed material was performed, but (officers) did not locate the projectile," said Colvin, who suspects it may have fallen between spaces in the wall layers. No shell casings were found either.

Colvin said he later contacted Smith at the emergency room and again was told the alleged shooter was named Dave.

Smith, Colvin said, described the weapon as being silver.

When Smith asked whether the gun was a semiautomatic or revolver, "he replied, 'A revolver. He showed it to me before he shot,'" Colvin said.

Smith also reported having met Dave at Aldi's.

Shaw also spoke with Lt. Dave Sutton about the events leading up to the shooting and indicated she and Smith had gone to Aldi's at about 11 a.m. Monday.

While there, Shaw reported they ran into a "white female Shaw knew as an employee at (a local medical facility) and a white male who said his name was Dave (he was the woman's husband)," Sutton said.

The couple, later identified as the Dudleys, offered to give Shaw and Smith a ride home to their apartment, where they were invited inside, Sutton said.

"Throughout the day, Shaw, Smith and (David Dudley) drank beer," Sutton said. "(Cindy Dudley) went to Walmart for sometime, then returned and took (David Dudley) to JD's Quickstop to purchase more beer."

Later in the evening, Shaw reported Smith and David Dudley argued. Sutton said Shaw felt Smith was jealous David Dudley was paying too much attention to her.

Smith reportedly told David Dudley to leave and he and his wife did, Sutton said.

"Around 30 minutes later, Shaw answered a knock at the front door," Sutton said. "When Shaw opened the front door, (David Dudley) said 'I'm back' and produced a pistol and came in through the door."

David Dudley then allegedly shot Smith, and Shaw fled next door to her cousin's apartment, Sutton said.

"Initially, all we had to go on was Dave from the lake area," explained Police Chief Danny Whiteley. "As evidenced by (his) picture, with a few phone calls, we figured out who Dave was."

During the investigation, Whiteley said, officers had obtained vehicle information for Cindy Dudley's car, "which was the car he fled in the night of the shooting."

Whiteley said Detective Jason Morgan saw the vehicle sitting at a local business Wednesday afternoon.

"We set up surveillance on the vehicle, (and) when he left we arrested him close to the corner of Second and Oak," Whiteley said.

The car, he said, was impounded for processing.

"An attempt was made to interview (David Dudley); he stated he wanted an attorney," Whiteley said. "After a short conversation with his wife, she decided she wanted an attorney."

"At this time, we don't know the exact motive," said Whiteley. "They had evidentially spent quite a bit of time together that day, then David returned for whatever reason and shot the victim in the mouth."

Preliminary investigation indicates David Dudley, who is a felon, may have used a black-powder pistol, which "wouldn't be a federal violation of (felon in) possession of firearm."

David Dudley previously had been convicted of stealing a motor vehicle in Stoddard County in March 1974.

Pertinent address:

1300 West Harper Street, Poplar Bluff, MO

Map of pertinent addresses

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