- Local manhunt ends with death

David Williams

A manhunt that began in Diggins and ended south of the 300-resident village located about five miles west of Seymour resulted in Thursday’s death of Seymour’s David Ray

Williams, 37, who died after an officer-involved shooting.

The hunt for Williams began around 5:20 a.m. Thursday, following a trailer fire on Ragsdale Street in Diggins.

Law-enforcement officials from the Webster County Sheriff’s Department and Seymour Police Department said that Williams possibly was connected to the house fire.

The chase resumed just south of the Diggins village limits when Williams was spotted and fled on foot, brandishing a firearm, which later was discovered to be a rifle.

That search began around 10 a.m. when county dispatch received a report of a man who stole a car with a rifle inside.

Williams then was found near the intersection of Highway NN and Lake Hill Road. A chase that involved more than 10 law-enforcement officers followed. In the interim, Williams allegedly set fire to an Amish barn after a chase estimated to be two to three miles.

After the fire was set, Williams was found in a tree stand with a rifle.

Involved in the manhunt for Williams were four Seymour Police Department officers — Police Chief Steven Pogue, Sgt. Gabe Stroud, Patrolman Aubrey Hutson and Ray Rodriguez, who is a patrolman serving as the school-resource officer for the Seymour R-II School District.

Pogue and Stroud declined to make a statement on the manhunt for Williams, although each confirmed that Williams pointed his loaded rifle at law-enforcement officers on several different occasions.

The chase of Williams ended when he was shot in the tree stand by a law-enforcement officer, whose identity is not being disclosed.

A source told the Citizen the shot was from 300 yards.

One trooper from the Missouri State Highway Patrol and two other law-enforcement officers were placed on administrative leave, the sheriff’s department said.

Pogue said all three of his officers involved in the Williams manhunt were on leave Monday. He and the three officers attended mandatory counseling Monday afternoon, per city and department policies after city officers are involved in an officer-involved shooting.

Williams is a Seymour native who attended Seymour High School.

Prior to Thursday’s series of events, he had a history of criminal charges and convictions — ranging from arson to drug offenses — according to court records.

An investigation into the shooting is under way.

A critical-incident team, which includes deputies from the Greene County Sheriff’s Department in Springfield, is handling the investigation.

Williams’ body was taken to the Fraker Funeral Home in Marshfield, which is handling funeral services.

A memorial service for Williams is set for 6 p.m. Friday evening at Fraker Funeral Home.

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