Kansas City police on Thursday continued to investigate the death of a lawyer who was shot on the front porch of his Brookside home while authorities urged witnesses to call in tips.
“Police have worked around the clock to gather evidence on the brazen murder of Tom Pickert killed yesterday. Your help is needed. Plz call,” Jackson County Prosecutor Jean Peters Baker said in a tweet.
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Pickert’s wife called police about 8 a.m. Wednesday after hearing gunshots and finding her husband fatally wounded.
Police have not released any suspect information or identified a person of interest in the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting police asked for help finding a white 1997 Chevrolet van with Missouri license 6FA 453. By late Wednesday afternoon, police found the van in Raytown — unoccupied.
Police spoke with the van’s owner at police headquarters and then let him leave.
They retained the van and are processing it for evidence. Police have not said whether they collected any evidence linked to the shooting.
On Thursday, a woman said she was startled after hearing the victim’s wife scream seconds after the shooting.
“The last thing she said was ‘help, help, help,’” said Sandy Corpenny. “Then we heard the police sirens. I had no idea that it happened up here. I kept saying, was it a drive-by. We didn’t know. It’s just scary.”
Pickert was a lawyer for the firm Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger LLC in Kansas City. The shooter may have walked up to him and shot him at close range. Immediately after the shooting, a car was heard speeding away.
Pickert won a $5.75 million judgment this summer against a businessman who had shot a homeless man on his property. Last week, Jackson County court officials started the process of seizing the man’s real estate to pay the judgment. The court filed paperwork that would prevent the man from selling or transferring the property.
Police on Wednesday were at the man’s suburban residence and a business he owned in Kansas City.
Police were also at the home on Thursday. Neighbors said they had seen police removing the van from where it had been left between two nearby houses.
Neighbor Paul Whitney said he has known the man for about 20 years.
“He’s personable, very smart,” Whitney said.”We never had a problem with him.”
Whitney said he knew the man had a multimillion-dollar judgment against him for shooting someone on his property.
Sgt. Kari Thompson said she did not know whether Pickert had been threatened before the shooting. She said several people have contacted police worried about their safety. She did not say if those were lawyers who had dealt with the man whose van they recovered.
“They wanted to know what they can do to make themselves safe,” Thompson said. “We advised them to remain vigilant, know your surroundings and be aware.”
Anyone with information should call the Tips Hotline at 816-474-8477.
“We have not many leads, we need tips, have people to call us,” Thompson said.
As a personal injury lawyer, Pickert focused on medical malpractice, nursing home and long-term care abuse cases, according to his biography on his firm’s website.