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Man charged with murder in shooting of Independence officer, Jackson County civil process server

Larry Acree also facing other charges in connection to shooting
Deadly Feb. 29 Independence shooting
Posted at 11:06 AM, Mar 01, 2024

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — A 69-year-old man was charged Friday in connection to a deadly shooting that left an Independence police officer and Jackson County civil process server dead one day earlier, prosecutors announced.

Larry Acree is charged with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and one count of assault of a special victim in the deaths of Independence police officer Cody Allen and county court officer Drexel Mack. Two other police officers were also wounded in the shooting.

"This is really a hard day," Jackson County Prosecuting Attorney Jean Peters Baker said in a press conference announcing the charges Friday morning at Independence police headquarters. "Charges are great to be able to give you, but I think all of us would just like to roll back the clock a few hours to see if any other fate could've been met."

Baker said more charges, including possible charges related to a third Independence police officer who was shot during the violence, are possible but that the investigation remains early.

Mack and another civil process server were greeted with gunfire after entering a house where they were serving an eviction notice about 1 p.m. in the 1100 block of North Elsea Smith and Bundschu roads.

Acree allegedly ambushed the civil process servers who came to serve a Notice to Vacate after the property had been sold at auction due to non-payment of delinquent taxes, according to a police probable-cause statement.

The new owner of the property filed a Writ of Possession on Feb. 9, 2023, and the court ordered that Acree vacate the property by March 2.

Mack, who had been at the property before as part of a year-long eviction process, and two other civil process servers went to the home to evict Acree.

After cutting through a padlock on the fence, Mack and his colleagues knocked on the door and received no answer.

They then drilled out the lock and two civil process servers entered the residence, where Acree was waiting inside and opened fire.

Mack fell to the floor just inside the front door of the residence.

The other civil process server who entered the home retreated and called for assistance, which led multiple Independence police officers to the scene around 1:09 p.m.

Those officers, including Allen, tried to rescue Mack from the house when Acree opened fire again.

He shot and killed Allen and injured at least one other officer.

Officers returned fire after Acree shot at law enforcement.

Baker confirmed Friday that a third Independence police officer was shot, but the investigation into the circumstances remains ongoing and more charges could be added against Acree later.

After tactical units and additional law enforcement officers — including Kansas City, Missouri, police officers and Jackson County sheriff’s deputies — arrived, Acree was taken into custody shortly before 1:30 p.m.

Allen, 35, was in his second stint with the Independence Police Department at the time of his death. He returned to the department two years ago after working in the private sector.

“His bravery and dedication will forever be remembered, and his absence leaves a void that cannot be filled,” Independence Mayor Rory Rowland said.

Rowland called the press conference a gathering of “profound sadness and heavy hearts.”

“Today, our city grieves the passing of two dedicated guardians and public servants,” he said. “Officer Allen exemplified the very best of our police force. And as I get to know the men and women of this police force, my respect and admiration for them grows every day. They are remarkable individuals that put their life on the line to protect all of us.”

Independence Police Chief Adam Dustman said Thursday that Allen began his law enforcement career with the Grandview Police Department.

Mack is being remembered for his joyous nature and contagious smile, as well as the professionalism he exemplified while working as civil process server.