A float trip on the Meramec River turned deadly, and resulted in the death of a Franklin County man, when a property owner became angry after seeing a man urinating on a gravel bar, authorities said Monday.
James Crocker, 59, of Steelville, is charged with second-degree murder, according to the Associated Press. He is jailed on a $650,000 cash-only bond.
Crocker, a property owner along the river, is accused of confronting a group of people on their float trip Saturday and shooting Paul Dart Jr., a traveling companion of the man who was urinating, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. Dart, 48, of the Catawissa/Robertsville area, was shot in the head.
“It’s my property and I was going to protect it,” Crocker told police, according to court records.
Crocker went to a neighboring home and asked a woman to call 911 because he had just shot someone on the river, Crawford County Sheriff Randy Martin said.
Crocker and some of the floaters had argued for several minutes before the shooting. Crocker told police he fired warning shots as four men moved closer to him in the gravel bar, with one of them — not Dart — holding a pair of rocks.
Authorities released the names of the victim and suspect Monday.
See the Wednesday Missourian for the full story.