HOLT, MO (KCTV) -- The suspect in a crime spree involving scenes in Clay and Jackson counties is dead after an officer-involved shooting Thursday.
The Clay County Sheriff's Office is on scene in the 19800 block of Northeast 172nd Street near Holt.
Authorities say the deceased is 28-year-old Jeffery Dale Millsap, who was the suspect in an armed robbery in Liberty and a shooting in Independence.
This comes after Liberty police were called about 11 a.m. Thursday to Academy Sports at 269 S. Stewart Rd. near Interstate 35 and Missouri Highway 152. According to officers, employees reported a suspect stole a gun, possibly loaded it and left the scene.
Police said the man had tried to buy a gun, but was denied. He then took out a knife, jumped the counter, and took the gun he was trying to buy.
Both the store and the Hobby Lobby next door were locked down while police searched for the suspect. Police were very clear that it was not an active shooter situation, but an armed robbery investigation. No shots were fired, and no injuries were reported.
Officers then cleared the store, but you can imagine it was a very scary situation for employees and customers while both stores were closed for about two hours.
One man said his wife was working inside the sports store when today’s incident happened. She escaped out the back door and called him. He immediately came to check on her.
“She said that someone armed with a weapon from the gun bar started loading the weapon, and apparently she got from the walkie saying that, ‘Someone has a gun and everyone needs to evacuate,’” Mathew Perkins said. "She was trying to hold back her tears. It’s a very scary process to go through. It shouldn’t happen."
His wife believes the suspect likely got away with the crowd of people leaving the store in a panic.
Liberty police praised the staff of the sports store for how the situation was handled, by announcing the danger to the entire store.
Police were then called about 11:30 a.m. to Landmark Dodge Chrysler Jeep Ram near South Noland and E. Rankin roads in Independence regarding a shooting.
Police said there were words exchanged between a salesperson and the suspect, then the suspect began shooting. The salesperson was shot multiple times and was taken to a nearby hospital in serious condition.
“From what we have gathered so far, the victim was an employee here,” said Officer Jodi Grooms with the Independence Police Department. “The suspect was a customer at some point.”
The shooter left the car lot immediately after.
Following the incidents in Liberty and Independence, dispatchers sent out a description to officers around the metro of the suspect and, using the information on the paperwork he submitted when trying to buy the gun in Liberty, the vehicle he was driving.
It turns out the suspect fled north back into Clay County. Officers then spotted him near Kearney, so Kearney police officers and Clay County deputies followed his vehicle. They tried to pull him over, but he drove off and refused to stop.
He ended up at a family member's house off NE 172nd Street in Holt.
“Now, because we didn’t know what the connection was to this house, we didn’t want him to make it to the house and especially make it into the house because we would have had a completely different scenario,” said Captain Will Akin. “That would have been a barricaded suspect with unknown parties inside the house with him.”
Neighbors said they saw posts on social media that the suspect was being chased to the home. One mom quickly got her husband and little girls inside then they heard the sirens. “I’m very fortunate we were able to have the heads up and get everyone inside to be safe for this unfortunate thing,” said Amanda Davidson.
According to the Clay County Sheriff’s Office, only a deputy fired shots at the suspect although there was a Kearney officer at the scene. The suspect was shot in the driveway.
Because an outside agency is investigating the shooting, investigators have not said exactly what happened that led up to the shooting. They said it’s too early to know if gunfire was exchanged between the deputy and suspect. However, they do believe the suspect still had a gun from the armed robbery and shooting.
That deputy has been put on leave as part of standard policy.
Police said the suspect's father and sister were home when the shooting happened, but they were not hurt.
Captain Will Akin with the Clay County Sheriff’s Office credited the dispatchers from all the involved agencies with piecing together the situation.
"We try to narrow it down and have more communication with dispatch centers with different areas that are impacted,” he said. “Our dispatchers make that happen. They are asking questions and the dispatchers have relayed the information."
"The dispatchers don't get enough credit where credit is due,” he added. “When we get to a scene, we see the officers and first responders. The one that put it all together are the dispatchers. They did a fantastic job working together."