April 13, 2010
Police arrested the suspected gunman in a Tuesday afternoon shooting which left a Sedalia man in critical condition.
Joseph Ruiz, 19, was arrested in a wooded area near a park in Boonville, according to Sedalia Police Cmdr. Larry Ward. A woman who was believed to be kidnapped in the incident also was found unharmed.
Ruiz was accused of shooting Trenton Lawson, of Sedalia, at about 3 p.m. Tuesday on the 400 block of upper East Broadway Boulevard, a block-long road that runs between South Washington and South Lafayette avenues and terminates at the Katy Trail Bridge.
Sedalia Police Cmdr. Adam Hendricks said Lawson was driving a red Mustang with Jessica Cota, of Sedalia, at the time of the shooting.
Police believe Ruiz approached the car and fired at least two shots, one of which struck Lawson in the abdomen. Lawson ran from the vehicle and made his way to a home at 711 S. Lafayette Ave., and Ruiz drove off in the red Mustang with Cota still inside.
At about 8:30 p.m. Tuesday, both Ruiz and Cota were being transported back to Sedalia for questioning, Ward said. Ruiz did not have a weapon when he was arrested.
Lawson was transported to University Hospital in Columbia, where he remained in critical condition Tuesday night.
“He has had an initial surgery. He is in critical condition, and they moved him into intensive care,” Ward said. “They are attempting to stabilize him so they can do more surgeries.”
Police plan to request a minimum of first-degree assault, unlawful use of a weapon and armed criminal action charges against Ruiz, Ward said.
Sedalia Police Chief John DeGonia said investigators believe the shooting was possibly related to a domestic disturbance, but would not speculate on a motive.
“At first glance it would appear it’s an estranged boyfriend involved, but that is all we know now,” Ward said.
Ward lauded the cooperation from witnesses during the investigation, which he said helped lead officers with the Missouri State Highway Patrol, Cooper County Sheriff’s Office and Boonville Police Department to the area where Ruiz was found.