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Charges announced after police officer, process server killed, 2 hurt during eviction turned shooting in Independence

By Connor Hills

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    KANSAS CITY, Missouri (KMBC) — The Independence Police Department has confirmed that one of its officers and a Jackson County Process server have been killed — and two more officers are injured — after a shooting that began during an eviction in northeast Independence.

Police have identified the deceased victims as 35-year-old officer Cody Allen and Drexel Mack, a Civil Process server in his early 40s.

Jackson County, Missouri, Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker announced Friday morning that 69-year-old Larry Acree has been charged with two counts of first-degree murder and two counts of armed criminal action in connection with Allen and Mack’s deaths.

Acree also faces a first-degree assault on a special victim charge and an additional armed criminal action charge in connection with the wounding of another officer who remains hospitalized.

The fatal exchange, which began around 1:09 p.m. on Thursday at a home located at 1111 N. Elsea Smith Road, started as what Peters Baker called part of a year-long eviction process.

Acree remains hospitalized for injuries he sustained during the incident.

Officer Allen, who had been with the Independence police department for two years and a member of law enforcement for much longer, is survived by his wife, two kids and his parents. Mack, an employee of the Jackson County courts for 12 years, is survived by his fiancée.

The other two officers injured in the exchange are not being identified at this time. One has serious injuries and both are expected to survive.

According to the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Mack was at the home serving an eviction notice when someone from inside the home began shooting at him.

Other process servers at the scene with Mack then called 911 for help. Simultaneously, a 911 call also came in from a neighbor stating that an officer had been shot.

According to police, Allen was shot and killed while rendering aid to Mack.

The other responding Independence police officers were then shot while responding to assist the fallen process server and officer.

Tactical officers from numerous agencies responded to the scene and were then able to take the unidentified suspect into custody.

KCPD Capt. Jake Becchina said a tactical response team remained at the scene and completed a tactical operation, which ended around 7:30 p.m.

Officers searched the property and found no additional people inside the home.

The scene has been released to the Missouri Highway Patrol criminal investigators.

The surviving victims are currently being treated at Centerpoint Medical Center.

The 16th Judicial Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, confirmed Mack was one of their process servers and had served in the role for nearly a decade.

“We are devastated that a court employee, who is a public servant, was shot by a member of the public while performing their job,” Presiding Judge Jalilah Otto said. “Our hearts are heavy, and our thoughts are with our employee, our entire Court family, and the Independence Police Department.”

Independence police have also confirmed that they are in mourning.

Interim Independence Police Chief Dustman said Allen worked for the Independence Police Department twice, leaving for the private sector before returning to the department two years ago.

“He always had a smile,” Dustman said. “He was the guy that when you go on a call, you knew he was gonna be there. He could defuse things in a moment’s notice. He was right there to back you up.”

The department has lost multiple officers in the line of duty over the last several years.

“We’re just asking for all the positive thoughts and prayers,” Independence police spokesperson Kelley Rupert said shortly after the shooting was confirmed.

Numerous Kansas City area police departments and Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas have sent out messages of support following the incident.

NewsChopper 9 was overhead as a procession of officers escorted Independence Police Officer Cody Allen’s body from Centerpoint Medical Center to the Jackson County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Missouri Governor Mike Parson sent out a social media post confirming that he was receiving updates regarding the deadly shooting.

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The scene of the incident was located near Fort Osage High School, but the school was not involved. The school district was briefly placed under a lockdown which was lifted a short time later. Schools will dismiss as regularly scheduled.

“There is no threat to any of our schools in the area,” Fort Osage Schools Superintendent Stephanie Smith told KMBC 9 shortly after lifting the lockdown.

The Independence Police Department is the only law enforcement agency believed to have been at the scene of the initial shooting. MSHP and other Kansas City area agencies are at the scene to assist with the investigation.

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