Missouri Man Shoots River Runner

Killed over trespassing dispute

Adam Roy

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A Missouri man is being charged with second-degree murder after shooting a man from a float group that he claims to have found on his property.

Thomas Dart Jr. and several friends and family members had stopped on a gravel bar on the Meramec River, near Steelville, when property owner James Robert Crocker emerged with a handgun and confronted the group about tresspassing, beginning an argument that ended wtih Crocker shooting Dart in the face at close range.

Loretta Dart, the victim’s wife, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her husband was trying to prevent an altercation between Crocker and one of the river-runners, who had picked up a pair of rocks, when he was shot.

“My husband tried to calm the guy down,” she said. “He went to the guy’s arm to try to stop him, but the guy jerked back and popped him in the face.”

Crocker is currently being held at the Crawford County Jail in lieu of $650,000 cash-only bail.

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