More details have become available regarding last week’s shooting in Sedalia, and the suspect, who allegedly burglarized the victims’ home previously, has been formally charged.
Sedalia Police Department detectives arrested Henry L. Ward, 18, Thursday afternoon, less than 12 hours after the shooting occurred. Ward has been charged with two counts of first degree assault, two counts of armed criminal action, first degree burglary, unlawful use of a weapon and first degree endangering the welfare of a child.
According to court documents, on June 14, a SPD officer responded to a burglary report at the residence of Terez Dominique Lewis, 27, and Elisha Marie Curry, 30, who said someone had forced entry into the residence, ransacked it and stole items. At the time of the report, Lewis believed the suspect was Ward.
On June 26, another SPD officer stopped at Fav Trip, 216 W. Broadway Blvd., after witnessing a disturbance in the parking lot. The officer made contact with Lewis and Ward; Lewis was confronting Ward about the burglary and accusing him of wearing a belt that had been stolen. The officer diffused the situation, which was recorded on his body camera, and Lewis and Ward left the area.
At 4:51 a.m. June 30, officers and medical personnel responded to a report of a gunshot victim at a home in the 1800 block of South Sneed Avenue, making contact with Lewis and Curry. Lewis was sitting outside, telling officers he had been shot in the head and that Curry had been shot as well. According to court documents, officers found Curry face down on the bedroom floor and it appeared she had been shot in the head and the upper chest or shoulder area.
Lewis told officers he woke up to someone punching him in the face and when he got out of bed he saw a red laser beam from a gun. The suspect, who Lewis identified as Ward, then pointed a gun in his face, firing a shot as Lewis dropped to the floor. Curry soon fell on the floor too, and Lewis was then shot in the back of the head. Once Ward left, Lewis went to a neighbor’s home for help.
Lewis told one officer that Ward demanded money during the incident.
Lewis and Curry were taken by ambulance to be flown by Life Flight to University Hospital in Columbia.
A 6-year-old female was also in the home at the time of the shooting, but was not injured. “She said the suspect kicked the front door open, pointed a gun at her, and told her to get back,” court documents state. “She said he then went in Terez and Elisha’s bedroom.”
Once obtaining a search warrant, detectives found several .380 caliber shell casings and bullets, large amounts of blood, marijuana, scales and cash. It was also found that one of the bullets traveled through a window and into a neighboring residence, which was occupied at the time of the shooting.
Officers spoke with an informant and discovered Ward was possibly in Columbia. An SPD officer who arrived in Columbia to transport Ward back to Sedalia was told that when Columbia Police Department officers located Ward he “exited the residence with his hands up and said, ‘I’m the one you’re lookin’ for,’” court documents state.
While being interviewed by SPD detectives, Ward denied any involvement in the incident, saying he had been sleeping at a residence on Scott Joplin Court at the time, but the resident of the home said Ward did not contact him until 6 a.m. asking for a ride, which was provided.
“… (Ward) said he got out of Sedalia once he heard about (the shooting) because he knew he would get blamed for it,” court documents state.
Ward eventually requested an attorney during his interview.
During the Democrat’s last interview with SPD Sgt. Kelley Casto, both victims were being treated in Columbia and were expected to survive; an update on their medical conditions was not available at press time.
Ward is at the Pettis County Jail on a $500,000 bond, cash or surety. A hearing has been scheduled for 1:30 p.m. Tuesday at the Pettis County Courthouse. Online court records list Sedalia public defender Max Mitchell as Ward’s legal representation.
Online court records list Ward’s address in the 500 block of North Stewart Avenue, however the probable cause statement notes Ward should be considered a flight risk because he was unable to provide police with a current address and he is known to travel between Sedalia, Columbia and Chicago.
If anyone has additional information regarding this incident, contact the Sedalia Police Department at 660-826-8100 or through the Sedalia Police Department Facebook page.