Marionville -- An intersection known for serious accidents gained far more notoriety Friday when a driver in a crash shot to death a man who had stopped to offer help, then wounded a local policeman before he was killed by the injured officer.
The shootings shook Erick and Doris Schaefer, who live a few houses from the intersection at Route ZZ and Western Street where the second shooting took place around 1 p.m.
Alerted by a police monitor in her home about a traffic crash on the two-lane highway, Doris Schaefer said she went outside and saw the fatal shooting of the driver of a small school bus that had been converted to a private vehicle.
The Missouri Highway Patrol said the man, Joseph M. Rich, 55, of Aurora, had stopped to help after seeing the initial accident between a sport utility vehicle and a pickup.
The gunman, Jesse Miller, 30, of Marionville then walked along the road toward town -- shotgun in hand -- as Marionville police officer Andy Clark approached in his patrol car, the patrol said.
Clark commanded Miller to drop his weapon several times, but Miller fired a shot that struck Clark in the neck, the patrol said. Clark returned fire, killing Miller.
Patrol spokesman Sgt. Mike Watson said Clark, who had been with the department about a year, was conscious and talking to emergency personnel after the shooting.
He suffered moderate injuries and was taken to a Springfield hospital for treatment, the patrol said.
During the first shooting, "There was no talking, there was nothing," Doris Schaefer said.
"He shot. There was gunfire and smoke. I was shaking so bad, it was horrible. I could not believe what I was seeing."
The Schaefers were among a crowd of people who stood near the shooting scene marked with rings of yellow tape that crossed through the neat yards of homes.
Erick Schaefer said he and his wife are nurses and routinely help motorists injured in crashes at the intersection.
Other Marionville residents who declined to give their names also were shaken by the scene that included Rich's body covered by a sheet near his vehicle and Miller's body covered with a green sheet, the shotgun nearby.
Heading a department that has to deal with an officer's shooting wasn't what he expected on his second day of the job, Marionville Police Chief Larry Jones said after Watson briefed reporters on the shootings.
On Thursday, he'd gone out to introduce himself around town, Jones said.
"One of the businessmen told me, 'Well, you're going to be bored; Marionville is a quiet town,'" the chief said.
The shootings brought a dozen patrol troopers, a half-dozen crime scene and traffic crash investigators, Lawrence County sheriff's deputies and police officers from Aurora to the Lawrence County town, Watson said.
Initial reports that the incident involved a school bus prompted a lockdown at nearby Marionville schools until it was determined the bus was not carrying school children and was a private vehicle, Watson said.
At a press briefing Friday afternoon, Watson said he couldn't give further details about the incident until the investigation progressed.
"I think as they come up with more information, more will come out as to why this happened," he said.