Thursday, December 10, 2015
JPD officers back on duty after shooting; Hill faces felony charges
Beginning today, December 10, 2015, Officer Seth Lugenbell and Officer Brett Davis are returned to active duty.
The Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) investigation yielded that Officer Lugenbell engaged Jeffrey Hill with his firearm as a result of Hill driving directly at Officer Lugenbell. Officer Davis did not deploy his firearm.
The MSHP investigation determined that the use of force used by Officer Lugenbell was justified.
The MSHP will conduct an administrative review of their investigation. There will be a delay before the compilation and availability of the MSHP report. The internal investigation, conducted by the Joplin Police Department’s Professional Standards Bureau, continues. However, preliminary results of this facet of the investigation yields no reason for the officers to remain on administrative leave and they can return to serving the community.
The criminal investigation into the actions of Hill is complete. Pending the medical recovery of Hill, the Joplin Police Department will submit for review the following charges to the Newton County Prosecutor: 1. 1 st Degree Assault on a law enforcement officer. 2. Driving While Intoxicated 3. Driving While Suspended 4. Resisting Arrest
On November 30, when officers initially responded to 3330 S. Texas Ave. Apt. 102, at 9:16 PM, Hill had broken a window and had been attempting to force his way into the apartment in an attempt to contact Mindy D. Melton-Bauersfeld.
Hill had fled the scene prior to the first arrival. The primary residents of the apartment are Ann and Michael Essig. Ann Essig signed a complaint against Hill for property destruction. An unsigned complaint for domestic assault was completed by the officer on behalf of Melton-Bauersfeld.
At 10:37 p.m., officers again responded in reference to a disturbance. Hill had returned to the apartment and was pounding on the door as well as the previously broken window. An occupant of the apartment opened the door and asked him to leave and Hill shoved his way inside briefly before Michael Essig was able to push Hill back out.
Hill was in the process of fleeing the scene when he then drove his vehicle at the officer. One element of assault is defined by state statute as purposely or knowingly placing or attempting to place another in fear of physical harm.
The Domestic Assault statute covers family or household member, spouses, former spouses, any person related by blood or marriage, persons who are presently residing together or have resided together in the past, any person who is or has been in a continuing social relationship of a romantic or intimate nature with the victim, and anyone who has a child in common regardless of whether they have been married or have resided together at any time.
As noted in an earlier Turner Report post, Hill was released from prison earlier this year, just two years into a six-year term.