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Highway Patrol investigating Sturgeon standoff with domestic assault suspect

A photo of some of the damage to a home after the standoff.
Ryan Blakely
Shots were multiple times, by both Linder and law enforcement, throughout the afternoon, the sheriff's office said. Neighboring residences, armored vehicles and other equipment were damaged by gunfire.

STURGEON — The usually quiet city of Sturgeon was anything but quiet Tuesday during a law enforcement standoff that resulted in the death of a domestic assault suspect.

The Missouri State Highway Patrol is investigating the death of Damion Linder, who was involved in an approximately nine-hour standoff with law enforcement in the 100 block of East Canada Street Tuesday.

Deputies communicated with Linder over a loud speaker and by phone to get him to surrender, the Boone County Sheriff's Office said in a Facebook post Wednesday. They also attempted tactical operations, including breaching the residence and deploying irritants into the home, the post said.

Shots were multiple times, by both Linder and law enforcement, throughout the afternoon, the sheriff's office said. Neighboring residences, armored vehicles and other equipment were damaged by gunfire.

The suspect's gunfire damaged the windshield on a BearCat vehicle owned by the Columbia Police Department. Capt. Brian Leer said they believe the suspect used a "high-powered rifle" during the standoff.

Capt. Brian Leer said law enforcement entered Linder's trailer around 7 p.m. and found him dead. It's not known if Linder was killed by law enforcement or if he shot himself.

"This incident did not result in the peaceful resolution for which we had hoped; however, we are grateful that no other citizens or law enforcement personnel were injured," the post said.

Deputies were originally called to the home for a report of a domestic assault. Court documents say on Tuesday morning, Linder, 41, grabbed a victim's head and hit it into a toilet paper dispenser, causing a laceration on their head. It claims Linder then pointed a firearm at the victim's head and told them to clean up their blood.

Linder, who had previous felony convictions that prohibited him from possessing firearms, was charged Tuesday with domestic assault in the second degree, unlawful use of a weapon and unlawful possession of a firearm. A notice of dismissal was filed Wednesday.

On Wednesday morning, neighbors were still in shock of Tuesday's events, which prompted a response from the Highway Patrol, Boone County Sheriff's Office and its SWAT team, Callaway County Sheriff's Office, and police from Sturgeon, Hallsville and Columbia.

"Still pretty unbelievable that is happened," said Steven Babcock, who lives just three doors down from where the standoff took place.

Other community members expressed relief that no one else was injured in the standoff that resulted in several rounds of gunshots fired throughout the day.

Royce Miller said his 12-year-old son was sleeping in the trailer right across the street when the standoff began.

"After everything was done, and we got to go inside (our trailer), I saw bullet holes through (my son's) wall and at his bed," Miller said. "So had he been asleep in his bed, he wouldn't be here with us."

Along with the disbelief and shock of Tuesday's events is the gratitude, Miller said he feels for the support he received from the community.

"Everybody really just pulled together yesterday, and we were all just kind of there for each other, and it just is not like that in other places."

It will take awhile before the community of Sturgeon will be able to fully move on from yesterday's events. But Miller says the city will be stronger for it in the future.

"The bond and hospitality people have in this town is not going to stop, if anything I just think it pulled us a little closer."

The sheriff's office said it will also conduct an internal administrative investigation.

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