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Caldwell County, Missouri, man accused of shooting at crop duster pilot flying near his property

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Posted at 5:19 PM, Jul 29, 2022
and last updated 2022-07-29 21:27:07-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo.  — A Caldwell County, Missouri, man allegedly fired a shotgun at a crop dust pilot because he thought the pilot was flying too close to his property.

Donald V. Bates Jr., 62, is charged in a July 10 incident with attempted second-degree murder, unlawful use of a weapon, attempted first-degree assault, first-degree property damage and armed criminal action.

In addition, Bates is accused of brandishing a shotgun at another pilot in a crop duster on May 14 outside his house in Caldwell County, Missouri.

Bates told a Caldwell County deputy the crop duster woke him up and he went outside.

He thought the plane was flying too low near his house and power lines, a court document states.

Bates went out the front door of his house with a shotgun in his right hand and made an obscene gesture at the pilot with the middle finger of his left hand, the court document states.

The deputy talked with the pilot about two weeks after the July 10 incident.

The pilot said he flew a 2014 Air Tractor 802 crop sprayer airplane and was hired to spray crops on land in the court.

He told the sheriff deputy he heard a loud pop as he flew away from the field he sprayed and thought he hit something in the air.

During his post-flight inspection of the airplane, the pilot said he found fuel leaking from the right wing through a bullet hole in the fuel tank under the right wing.

The pilot told the deputy he also found a second bullet hole in the nose cone of the airplane.

Another Caldwell County Sheriff's Department deputy went the next day to the Lexington, Missouri, Municipal Airport where the plane is kept.

The deputy stated he found bullet fragments in the airplane's wing and found both bullet holes.

Damage to the plane was estimated at $12,000 and the pilot lost $25,000 in wages because the plane was grounded by the damage.

No damage was found on a pre-flight inspection of the airplane, the pilot later told a sheriff's officer.

Witnesses near the Bates home told investigators they heard 10-15 gunshots about the same time the pilot said he was flying just north of the Bates house, according to the court document.

Bates showed a video tape of the July 10 flight to a sheriff's department sergeant and said he had a longer version of the tape.

He would not let the sergeant access that video without speaking to his lawyer, the court document states.

During a search warrant served July 29 at Bates' house, law officers found long guns, a handgun and several different caliber ammunition

They also found a large amount of marijuana, which Bates told them he used 2-3 grams a day for anxiety, the court document states.

No court date has been set.