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Man charged with murder at Osage River party

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WARSAW — A fatal shooting followed an alcohol-fueled river’s edge party in Benton County Sunday morning. 

The Benton County Prosecutor's Office has charged John M. Moreno, 24, with second-degree murder, a class-A felony, two counts of armed criminal action and first-degree assault. Moreno is being held in the Benton County Jail without bond.

Lance M. Lyman, 28, of Warsaw, was shot around 5 a.m. Sunday along the Osage River.

“Apparently there were quite a few people down there,” said Benton County Sheriff Eric Knox. “It’s down at the end of Clearview Drive, which ends in water. There used to be a bar and restaurant down there called Peppers at the lake, so it's kind of a popular area for people to gather. According to our witnesses, there were a couple dozen people down there drinking and swimming and having a good time.”

Apparently, Lyman intervened when Moreno assaulted an unnamed female.

Moreno opened fire as the party was breaking up and Lyman was hit.

“So it actually came out as disturbance and shots fired,” said Knox. “This happens quite a bit in rural areas. My deputies were short-staffed, terribly short-staffed, we only had two guys on, so they started rolling that way and then it went from a disturbance call to somebody's been shot.” 

Lyman jumped into the back of a truck fleeing the scene and yelled “Drive, drive,” according to the truck driver, as Moreno continued shooting at the truck, which drove to the ambulance base in Warsaw. Sheriff’s deputies were diverted to the base.

“He (Lyman) wasn't expired then, but he was well on his way,” Knox said, “so we obviously weren't able to interview him.”

Monday morning, Lyman’s father was at the Sheriff’s office.

“So, yes, terrifying and the family is upset,” Knox said. “Apparently the young man that was driving the truck also got a bullet graze in his shirt. So, according to, you know, the bullet hole in his truck he almost got hit as well, so it was a very close call for him. We’ve never had a call down there and I can’t recall one since I've been in office. Just one of those things, add in a stranger and alcohol, just a bad combination.”

Deputies and SWAT members responded to the scene of the shooting and attempted to make contact with Moreno, who was currently residing in Benton County. Moreno was arrested without further incident after the Missouri State Highway Patrol SWAT Team surrounded his residence.

According to Knox, Moreno moved from California and had no record with local law enforcement. The small-caliber handgun used to shoot Lyman was obviously deadly.

“It turned out to be a .22, which, you know, some people discount .22s, but a very deadly weapon,” said Knox. “I'm sure his body was sent off for autopsy though I did not talk to the coroner, but we know he was shot at least once, maybe twice, maybe three times. It's hard to tell with all the blood on scene. Just a tragic, tragic loss.”

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