A Liberty man shot by a Missouri Highway Patrol trooper will spend the next 30 years in prison.
At his sentencing Wednesday, Clay County Circuit Court Judge K. Elizabeth Davis told 42-year-old Alan G. Hampton that it was "a miracle" neither he nor the trooper was killed.
Cpl. Cody Dunfee says he didn't fear for his life that night because he had learned to suppress that fear during nine years on the job, but it is definitely a night he will never forget.
"Just because of the fact that I was stuck to that car and the only way I had to get away from that was to fire my service weapon," Dunfee said.
It was 1:47 a.m. on July 8, 2012, when Dunfee spotted a Chevy Malibu speeding on MO 152 Highway near North Oak Trafficway.
After activating his lights and sirens, he could see the driver making frantic movements on the passenger side of the car.
"I knew something was up," Dunfee said. "But I didn't know what it was at the time."
The driver pulled over just past Interstate 435, and as Dunfee approached, he saw the man reach for something square in his waistband.
"I just remember it as a square object that was black," Dunfee said.
On the dash cam, you can hear Dunfee shout three times, "Stop!" Each time, the man replies, "No." On the third exchange, Dunfee went a step further.
"I just drew my service weapon and more or less dove into the car right after him," Dunfee said.
The driver took off with Dunfee still clinging to the side of the car. The driver continued for more than 100 yards before stopping.
"I actually picked my feet up, so I didn't drag per-se," Dunfee said. "I had no injuries after the fact. I put a dent in the back door of the car sometime during the incident and the holster I wear to work today still has the rub marks from that car."
Along the way, Dunfee fired down at the man's lower half.
"A million things were going through my mind," Dunfee said.
He says he had to think of a way to get the man to stop the car. He didn't want to injure himself by letting go, but he knew that if his shot disabled the man, the car could keep going with the man's foot on the gas pedal and continue out of control.
The driver seemed surprised to have been shot.
"You shot me," he is heard saying over and over. "You (explicative) shot me!"
Troopers later found a loaded syringe in that car, and nearby found methamphetamine and a pistol that had blood on it.
The blood belonged to Hampton. Investigators believe he tossed the gun after being shot. Hampton had multiple felony drug and property crime convictions going back more than 20 years.
"Hampton may argue that getting shot was punishment enough," said Clay County prosecutor Dan White. "Getting shot isn't punishment. Getting shot is a consequence of this stupid, dangerous and illegal behavior."
The 30-year sentence includes six years for resisting arrest, 12 years for possession of a controlled substance, and 12 years for felon in possession of a firearm.
The firearm possession penalty was more severe than most because of past felony convictions he had.
Dunfee says it is not the first time he has had to fire his service weapon. The last time he took a bullet was while serving a search warrant in Bates County for a man wanted for a Chicago murder. His vest protected him. The suspect in that case took his own life.
Copyright 2013 KCTV (Meredith Corp.) All rights reserved.
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