More details have become available regarding Saturday night’s fatal shooting in Sedalia.
Elijah H. Watts, 27, of Sedalia, has been charged with second-degree murder, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, and unlawful possession of a firearm in connection with the shooting death of his cousin, 25-year-old Adrian R. Clark, of Sedalia. Watts is at the Pettis County Jail on a $500,000 bond, cash or surety. Arraignment took place Tuesday morning at the Pettis County Courthouse. Online court documents do not list an attorney for Watts.
According to a Sedalia Police Department news release, officers responded to 11th Street and South Ohio Avenue at 11:28 p.m. Saturday for a report of gunshots and a subject on the ground. Upon arrival, officers located the victim who had been shot several times. According to court documents the victim, later identified as Clark, was lying in the road with gunshots to his face, neck, and leg.
Attempts to revive Clark were not successful and he was pronounced dead at the scene by Pettis County Coroner Skip Smith, according to Sedalia Police Chief Matthew Wirt. Court documents state he died as a result of at least four gunshot wounds. There were a total of 10 .40 caliber shell casings located in the street near Clark’s body.
“Then they started working on canvassing the area for any information,” Wirt told the Democrat on Sunday. “They were able to get a few leads along the way and be able to track down the suspect through those leads just during the initial investigation.”
One witness told police they saw the suspect wearing all black clothing and running north on Ohio Avenue and into an alley that connects Ohio and Osage avenues. While searching the area, officers located a .40 caliber Smith and Wesson handgun behind the garage of a residence in the 1000 block of South Osage Avenue. Detectives and officers later located a dark-colored T-shirt on the south side of the residence. The residence belonged to Watts.
SPD Detective Travis St.Cyr interviewed someone who knew Clark. According to court documents, they told St.Cyr they had been hanging out with Watts and Clark earlier that evening at a Knob Noster residence, later driving back to Sedalia. The witness said both males had been drinking heavily and liked to argue.
The witness said around 11:21 p.m. they received a phone call from Watts, which upset Clark. Watts and Clark got into an argument over the phone. Watts was asked by the witness to come to the Sedalia residence to calm Clark down and reassure him on a matter. Clark told the witness to stay there and left to go to Watt’s residence. A short time later the witness heard gunshots.
The witness got in their vehicle and drove toward Watts’s residence where they saw a “panicked” Watts who looked like he was removing clothing. Watts was short with the witness when asked about the shots and Clark, saying he heard gunshots but did not know where Clark was.
Once the witness learned Clark was dead, they called Watts, who hung up on the witness “which (they) found odd considering Elijah and Adrian are related.”
Footage of the alleyway and residence were obtained from a surveillance camera. It showed a black male wearing a dark-colored T-shirt and pants running down the alley as stated by the witness at 11:28 p.m., the time of the 911 call. The man was seen running behind the garage where the gun was located.
As the male was shown coming from behind Watt’s residence, the second witness can be seen driving up in their vehicle. The witness watched the footage and confirmed it was Watts.
Officers responded to the 1000 block of South Osage Avenue and made contact with individuals on the porch. An individual went inside the residence and found Watts, who went voluntarily to the police department.
Watts admitted to hanging out with Clark and the witness earlier in the evening and having an argument with Clark over the phone. He denied ever leaving his residence after being dropped off by the witness earlier in the evening.
The serial number on the gun was checked and came back as stolen.