By Justin Schmidt, Multimedia Journalist - bio | email
ST JOSEPH, MO (KCTV) -
A 28-year-old Gower man was fatally shot by a sheriff's deputy whose patrol vehicle he had rammed, authorities said.
A Buchanan County Sheriff's Office deputy shot Eric C. Auxier after the patrol vehicle was rammed during a chase and a second deputy was injured during the crash, according to a news release from the Missouri Highway Patrol, which is conducting the investigation.
The injured deputy was taken to an area hospital where he was treated and released.
Two passengers were in the vehicle. They were questioned and later released.
Buchanan County Sheriff Mike Strong said deputies began following Auxier in the St. Joseph area because of a "violation" that Strong declined to specify.
"It involved a violation that was a significant danger to several people in the area," he said. "We'll just leave at that."
The Andrew County Sheriff's Office became involved during the chase, which was ended for a time after it crossed into populated areas. The chase span two counties and ended in Amazonia, MO, when Auxier traveled north on County Road 373 near K Highway. Amazonia is just north of St. Joseph.
"This involved somebody who was not compliant, somebody who took this to a level we wish it wouldn't have went to," Strong said. "But it was a violent act with unfortunate repercussions."
Once deputies thought they had Auxier stopped, he rammed the patrol car, Strong said.
"A violent act happened after the vehicle was stopped, which ignited this chain of events, which included one of our deputies being hurt and led to the rest of the actions that happened," Strong said.
The Andrew County Sheriff's Office asked the MHP's Division of Drug and Crime Control to head up the investigation.
The two deputies involved are on administrative leave until the investigation is complete. It will likely take several weeks to complete the investigation and forward the case to the Andrew County Prosecuting Attorney's Office for review.
Auxier had a prior record for several petty crimes.
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