Columbia police officers arrested four suspects in response to reports of property damage and several residents sustaining non-life-threatening injuries after being shot with BB guns.
Officers were dispatched around noon on Sunday, April 5, to Office Depot, 101 S. Providence Road, for BB gun shots fired. Within the next few hours, additional reports of BB gun shots fired calls were received at multiple locations across the city. Through resident reports, officers learned that the subjects were seen driving a blue 2007 Dodge Caravan shooting at pedestrians and residences with BB guns.
Through cooperation with community members, officers were able to locate the suspect vehicle in the 400 block of Trinity Place, along with the four suspects involved, at approximately 3:51 p.m. the same day.
The suspects who were identified and arrested are:
Triston Dean Stewart, 19, of Columbia, was arrested for assault in the second degree, property damage in the first degree and armed criminal action. He was remanded in the custody of the Boone County Jail.
Trey Matthew Stewart, 18, of Columbia, and was arrested for assault in the second degree, property damage in the first degree and armed criminal action. He was remanded in the custody of the Boone County Jail.
Christopher John Stapleton, 18, of Columbia, and was arrested for assault in the second degree, property damage in the first degree, armed criminal action, and resisting arrest. He was remanded in the custody of the Boone County Jail.
Jovon Olle Bibby, 18, of Columbia, was arrested for property damage in the second degree. He was given a citation and released from the scene.
Through further investigation, officers learned that an unidentified victim responded in self-defense by firing a real handgun back at the suspects. A round grazed Triston Stewart in the nose causing him to be transported to a local hospital for treatment of his non-life-threatening injury and then left in the custody of Boone County Jail.
"Please make sure you are following the Stay at Home Order. Make sure your children and family members are also following the Order," Police Chief Geoff Jones said. "This past weekend, several young people were taken into custody after driving around town shooting BB guns at people and damaging property. One of them was shot with a real gun by a victim of the shootings. I will remind you that your police department stands ready to actively pursue those who prey on others. We will enforce the law."
In total, there were four victims that came forward and reported they sustained non-life-threatening injuries after being shot by BB guns and did not require medical attention.
Residents who were victims of property damage reported their homes and vehicles to have sustained damage estimated to cost more than $800 in repairs.
While officers were on the scene in the 400 block of Trinity Place, a subject identified as John Pernell Stapleton Jr., 46, of Columbia, approached the scene rapidly and aggressively while failing to follow commands from officers to stay at a safe distance. He was arrested for obstructing government operation and remanded in the custody of the Boone County Jail.
This is an ongoing investigation. There are no further details to provide at this time.
Anyone with additional information about these incidents is asked to please contact the Columbia Police Department at 573.874.7652 or CrimeStoppers at 573.875.TIPS (8477) to remain anonymous.
Case number 2020-002909