A southwest Missouri man is charged in two counties after shootings that wounded six people and two dogs in what police believe were random attacks. Tom S Mourning II, 26, of Joplin, was charged Saturday in Jasper and Newton counties with multiple counts of armed criminal action, first-degree felony assault and unlawful use of a weapon. He was being held today in lieu of USD 1 million bond in Jasper County and USD 300,000 bond in Newton County. The incident began just after 5 AM Saturday when Mourning’s father called police to report shots had been fired in the duplex where he and his son lived. Officers caught up with Mourning around 5:10 AM and were preparing to stop him 14 blocks from his home when he pulled up behind an Immanuel Lutheran Church van at an intersection and started shooting, police said.
The van was on its way to St Louis for a meeting about the church’s comfort dog ministry, the Joplin Globe reported. The driver of the van, Kenneth Eby, was shot in the lung and as in critical condition Saturday night at an area hospital. Joplin police spokesman Capt. Bob Higginbotham said yesterday he would have been notified if Eby’s condition had gotten worse, but he hadn’t. One woman in the van was shot in the arm, a boy suffered a graze wound, and a woman was hit by shrapnel, police said. Two comfort dogs in the van also were hit but are expected to survive.
After that shooting, Mourning drove into portions of Joplin that are in Newton County and stopped at an intersection where he fired multiple shots at a pickup truck waiting to make a left turn from oncoming traffic, police said. The driver of the pickup was struck with two bullets and his wife was hit by shrapnel, police said. Deborah Pugh initially thought her husband, Donal Pugh, would be released from the hospital yesterday, but doctors found one of his arteries was nearly 100 percent blocked and were putting in a stent that could keep him hospitalized for a few more days, a Freeman Hospital spokeswoman said. Officers continued pursuing Mourning, who made a U-turn
and eventually slowed his vehicle and gave himself up at 5:22 AM, police said.
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No motive for the shootings has been determined, and there seems to be no relation between the suspect and the victims, police said. “It will always be a form of speculation as to the motive when someone hits random targets,” Higginbotham said. Mourning “has had history” with Joplin police, Higginbotham said. A mugshot of Mourning that police released Saturday was an older one for a drunken driving arrest, he said.