KBI searches for Fort Scott man after double homicide

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Posted at 11:08 AM, Dec 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-12-22 18:19:57-05

UPDATE | The Kansas Bureau of Investigation has arrested Dawson J. Mitchell for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon, but he has not been charged in connection with the double homicide.

ORIGINAL STORY | The Kansas Bureau of Investigation and the Fort Scott Police Department are currently searching for a man who is a person of interest in a double homicide that happened Tuesday night.

Dawson J. Mitchell, 23, is wanted for questioning in connection to the shooting of two victims inside a home in Fort Scott, according to a KBI news release.

On Tuesday around 7:40 p.m., the Fort Scott Police Department received a 911 call from a female family member who found 48-year-old Melissa L. Mitchell who had been shot.

Police arrived at the residence and found that Mitchell had died from her gunshot wound and also discovered Leonard D. Zimmerman, 53, dead in the house.

Fort Scott police asked for the KBI's assistance at around 8:30 p.m. Tuesday.

"The victims’ son, Dawson J. Mitchell, 23, of Fort Scott, is a person of interest and is wanted for questioning connected to the case," the release said. "Investigators are working to locate him at this time."

Dawson Mitchell is described to be 5 foot 7 inches tall and weighs approximately 160 pounds. He has blonde hair and blue eyes and was last seen wearing blue jeans, a brown coat and a baseball cap.

If anyone has information on the whereabouts of Dawson Mitchell, they should contact the Fort Scott Police Department at 620-223-1700 or the KBI at 1-800-KS-CRIME.

"Mitchell is expected to be armed and dangerous," the release said. "Do not approach him, but immediately call police."

For jurisdictions that utilize the Greater Kansas City Crime Stoppers Tips Hotline, anonymous tips can be made by calling 816-474-TIPS (8477), submitting the tip online or through the free mobile app at

Annual homicide details and data for the Kansas City area are available through the KSHB 41 News Homicide Tracker, which was launched in 2015. Read the KSHB 41 News Mug Shot Policy.