Television news crews from St. Louis and Cape Girardeau descended on Piedmont Thursday, Feb. 6, after a shooting and subsequent man-hut ensued. Many people in the county were on lock-down status until Jonathan Cody Elliott, 31, of Piedmont was in custody.
Elliott is accused of beating his pregnant wife, shooting two of her relatives, and shooting at two other individuals. The incident occurred at 11:43 a.m. near Fourth and Elm streets in Piedmont.
Elliott was arrested in St. Francois County after nearly a two-hour manhunt and has been charged with several felonies. He is currently jailed at the Wayne County Jail on suspicion of two counts of first-degree domestic assault, second-degree domestic assault, two counts of first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon, armed criminal action, and stealing a motor vehicle.
The incident supposedly started as a domestic dispute and escalated. The dispute allegedly started at the couple’s home in the Lick Branch area, about two miles from Piedmont. The couple allegedly left their home and drove toward Piedmont with the victim’s family members following them.
When they arrived in Piedmont, the vehicle stopped and the dispute escalated and ended with several shots being fire.
“That’s when Elliott got into it with the family and a gun was brought out” as the situation escalated, said Piedmont Police Chief Richard Sanders.
Paul Haggett told the newspaper that he heard a commotion outside of his house and looked out to see a man shoot another man. He immediately called the police department. Haggett said that his roommate saw the entire incident unfold; the roommate did not want to be interviewed.
Police found three victims when they arrived on scene. Richard Henson and James Hastings had been shot and Shannon Elliott had been beaten.
Richard Henson had been shot in the upper left chest area with a .410 shotgun. James Hastings had been shot in the buttocks by a .45 caliber pistol. Shannon Elliott had been punched several times in her face and received obvious injuries, according to Lt. Cory N. Thompson of the Piedmont Police Department.
James Hastings and Shannon Elliott were flown to Cape Girardeau for treatment. Hastings underwent surgery Friday morning and was released from the hospital Friday afternoon. Elliott is home and recovering from her injuries. Richard Henson was taken by ambulance to Poplar Bluff Regional Medical Center where he was treated and released.
Authorities said that Elliott also shot at Travis Sweda and Sandra Diamond. The couple was not injured. They were in a vehicle that Elliott shot at using a .45 caliber pistol.
After the shooting, Elliott reportedly drove to Patterson in a silver Mustang; reportedly, Elliott had borrowed the car earlier in the day to run home but had never returned it. Sanders said Elliott abandoned the car after it ran out of gas.
“At about 12:50 p.m., Jonathan Elliott asked David Ezell to take him to get gas because his car was in the field and had run out of gas,” reads a probable cause statement written by Deputy Shane Babb. “While Ezell was taking Elliott to get fuel, Elliott told Ezell about a shooting incident he was involved in. Ezell then stopped the car and told Elliott that he needed to turn himself in. Elliott stated he would not turn himself in. Ezell told him he needed to get out of his car. Elliott then displayed a gun and told Ezell to get out of the car. Elliott then took Ezell’s car and fled the area.”
According to Fredericktown Capt. Eric Hovis, Detective Hank Williams was positioned on U.S. 67 in Fredericktown after a “stop and hold” was issued by the Wayne County Sheriff’s Department in response to the shooting. Around 1:30 p.m., he spotted a 1990 dark green Ford Tempo and requested support from other officers. Capt. Hovis and Sgt. Jason Fitzwater responded and the three officers followed the suspect to the area near the S Bar F Scout Ranch before activating lights and sirens.
The suspect continued on northbound U.S. 67 to Route DD, at one point waving a pistol out the window.
“We knew we had the right guy (since) he was driving up the road with a pistol hanging out the window,” Hovis said. Elliott, Hovis said, was not pointing the gun at officers but was holding it straight up in the air, as to tell the officers that he had a weapon.”
Elliott turned onto eastbound Route DD and then immediately into a parking lot at a business at Knob Lick. The Fredericktown Police Department officers told him to exit the vehicle and the suspect surrendered without incident. The Missouri State Highway Patrol arrived a few minutes later.
After Elliott was arrested, he was interviewed at the Wayne County Jail. He told investigators that he was angry with his wife over some money missing from their income tax refund.
“He was also angry because he believed his wife was having an affair,” Thompson wrote in a probable cause statement. “He admitted he assaulted his wife in the car while driving down Fourth Street in Piedmont. He stated that, as he stopped the car, Mrs. Elliott’s dad (Richard Henson) confronted him with a pistol so Elliott shot him using a .410 shotgun. Mr. Elliott said he was able to get the pistol from Henson and shot (James) Hastings as Hastings was running away from him. Elliott went on to say he shot at a car being driven by Travis Sweda and occupied by Sandra Diamond during the incident. Mr. Elliott said he shot at Mr. Sweda because he was one of the people (he believed) his wife was having an affair with.”