An investigation is ongoing into a February incident where two Wright City police officers fired shots at a male suspect who was resisting arrest and had rammed his vehicle into a police cruiser.
Warren County Prosecutor Mike Wright and Wright City Police Chief Doug Saulters confirmed to The Record the investigation by the Missouri State Highway Patrol is still open and that no decision has been made on whether or not to file criminal charges in the incident.
According to police, on Feb. 1 a Wright City police officer attempted to stop Laroy T. Saddler, 38, Wright City. Police said Saddler was speeding and fled from officers onto Westwoods Road and continued onto the North Service Road and Highway J.Saddler then drove on to Hemphill Road where he allegedly ran his vehicle into a Wright City police car and injured an officer who had reached inside the window in an attempt to stop him.
It was at that time that officers fired shots at Saddler’s vehicle, according to police.Saddler was not hit or injured in the incident, police said, and he managed to elude police that night. He was taken into custody on Feb. 6 in Troy, Saulters said.
Saddler has been charged with felony second-degree assault on a law enforcement officer and resisting arrest, both felonies. He also was charged with driving while revoked, a misdemeanor.
Immediately after the shooting, Saulters requested the highway patrol investigate the incident.
Wright said the patrol submitted an initial report for his review, but that he is awaiting more information to determine if criminal charges are warranted. He added he does not have a time frame on when he will make a final decision.
The two officers involved in the shooting, Gary Sweaney and Ron McBride, are no longer with the police department. Sweaney resigned effective May 2, while McBride was dismissed on May 11, according to Police Chief Douglas Saulters.Saulters said their departures were not related to the shooting incident.
He declined to release further information, including the number of shots the officers fired or the area of Saddler’s vehicle where the bullets struck.
Saddler has pleaded not guilty to the assault charges on the police officers. A jury trial is scheduled to be held July 23 at 9 a.m. in Presiding Judge Keith Sutherland’s court, according to online court records.
Since being charged, a motion to revoke Saddler’s probation has been filed. A court hearing on that request will be held June 18.