Police: Jackson County court deputies shoot person during eviction in Blue Springs

Court says man at home drew weapon
Posted at 10:38 AM, Jan 08, 2021
and last updated 2021-01-08 17:41:10-05

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Jackson County court deputies serving an eviction notice at a Blue Springs residence on Friday morning shot and injured a man, according to Blue Springs police.

Officers were called to the home in the 400 block of Northwest Weschester Drive around 9:20 a.m. after a report of shots fired, police said in a news release.

Deputies with the 16th Circuit Court of Jackson County were serving an eviction notice and shot a man who lives at the home, police said. Police did not say what led to the shooting, but a statement from the court said its deputies were serving a writ "when at some point during their interaction with the occupant of the house, he retrieved and pointed a weapon at them."

"The deputies drew and ultimately discharged their weapons, striking the individual," the court's statement said.

The man was transferred to an area hospital with serious injuries. The deputies were not injured and are cooperating, according to police.

Later Friday, a man who identified himself as an ex-stepson to the person shot said he was out of surgery and stable. The stepson also said his former stepfather had been dealing with a mental health crisis for several months, which cost him his job.

The stepson said his family knew the eviction was happening today and warned the circuit court to send a mental health counselor or social worker with the civil process deputies to serve the order. A court spokesperson did not return calls on that topic.

“I know evictions are a dangerous process. It can be difficult when you’re forcing someone out of a residence, thus they (civil process deputies) are armed,” Blue Spring Police Chief Bob Muenz said. “I know there is some danger to it, but I’m not sure how often a shooting incident may occur.”

A civil process deputy is not a member of the sheriff’s office. They are employees of the circuit court and are not law enforcement officers, but they do carry guns. While most counties use sheriff’s deputies to serve writs, subpoenas, lawsuits and eviction notices, a spokesperson for the Jackson County Circuit Court said the county’s charter calls for these civil process deputies to carry out those responsibilities in Jackson County.

Court records show the man living at the home was nearly $3,000 behind on rent when the eviction case against him was filed. The landlord asked for possession, as well as past-due rent.

Under a federal moratorium on evictions in place through January, covered tenants cannot be evicted for nonpayment of rent — though renters must take certain steps to be covered, including submitted a signed declaration form from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to their landlords.

The man did not appear to file the form with the CDC. He also did not appear in court for his hearing, where the judgment was rendered against him.

KC Tenants, an advocacy group for tenants, released a statement Friday saying, in part, “Every eviction is an act of violence. Sometimes, that violence takes place in a Courtroom or on a WebEx conference line. Today, that violence was obvious and brutal. Today, that violence took place in the home of a tenant in a mental health crisis.”

The Jackson County Circuit Court said both deputies involved in the shooting were placed on paid administrative leave pending further investigation, which is policy.

Blue Springs police added there was "no danger to the community" following the shooting.

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