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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Shooting victim is charged

Sunday, May 26, 2002

CHARLESTON - The Sikeston man shot by Charleston police officers May 5 at the Knights of Columbus Hall's parking lot is now facing charges filed Friday by the Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney's Office.

Decarlos "Carlos" Clemons, 25, is charged with eight felonies: two counts of first degree assault of a law enforcement officer; unlawful use of a weapon for displaying a handgun in an angry or threatening manner; resisting arrest; three counts of armed criminal action; and one count of receiving stolen property as the gun was reportedly stolen.

In charges filed by Mississippi County Assistant Prosecutor, Gregory Spencer, the state alleges Clemons discharged a firearm while in a large group of people who were fighting as the police arrived.

Upon seeing the Charleston DPS officers Tony Baugher and Marc Tragesser arrive, Clemons resisted arrest by fleeing and then and attempted to shoot the officers, according to the charges.

The officers responded by firing their weapons, injuring Clemons. Clemons was treated at Missouri Delta Medical Center in Sikeston for two gunshots wounds to the torso and one other injury to the neck and was released.

A 9mm handgun, allegedly the weapon fired by Clemons, was reportedly recovered at the scene.

"On that night, the officers of the Charleston Department of Public Safety took great steps in preventing an otherwise volatile situation from getting worse," said Spencer.

Speculation that Clemons had a cell phone in his hands at the time of the shooting is unfounded, according to Spencer. "There is no credible evidence to support the notion that Clemons was in possession of only a cell phone," he said. "No cell phone was recovered from the scene and the first mention of a cell phone came from Mr. Clemons himself after previously saying he did not remember much about the incident."

Spencer said Clemons is expected to appear in court Wednesday at which time a preliminary hearing date will be set.

Clemons is a prior offender having pled guilty in 1997 to a felony charge of unlawful use of a weapon in Mississippi County.

The prosecutor's office has requested that bond be set at $500,000. The prosecutor also filed two unrelated felony charges of criminal non-support against Clemons Friday.

As the incident includes the discharge of weapons by police officers, the Missouri State Highway Patrol is conducting the independent investigation.

Mississippi County Prosecuting Attorney Jennifer Raffety and Spencer commended the patrol's professionalism in handling the case so far and described it as "very thorough" and "intense."

Patrol investigators are still seeking information on a video tape recording of the incident.

Spencer said if anyone has a copy of the tape or has knowledge of it they should contact Sgt. Don Windham, Missouri State Highway Patrol, at 840-9500 or 472-5200. A reward is being offered for the tape and names will remain confidential.

Spencer was hired by Raffety through a federal grant specifically to address gun violence. "With the addition of a full-time assistant prosecutor to this office, it will be possible to maintain a policy of zero tolerance as it relates to gun violence in our community, especially gun violence directed toward police officers," said Raffety.

This is the second gun violence case taken on by Spencer since assuming the position. The first case, a brandishing charge filed a couple weeks ago against Adrian Jones of Charleston, is pending.