Independence woman is pulled face-to-face with gunman; he kills her, police say

An enraged gunman who invaded an Independence apartment Tuesday morning had already shot his male rival when the wounded man grabbed 20-year-old Mary Schmitz and pulled her between them.

The alleged shooter — 18-year-old David A. Harris of Oak Grove — opened fire once more, killing Schmitz, according to criminal charges released Wednesday by Jackson County prosecutors.

“Mr. Harris admitted to shooting Ms. Schmitz as she faced him,” an investigator wrote in court documents filed with the charges.

Harris then fled the apartment, leaving Schmitz dead and a 21-year-old man with multiple, life-threatening gunshot wounds. A German shepherd was also shot and killed.

Harris is charged with second-degree murder, first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action.

According to investigators, police went to the apartment in the 1100 block of Quail Creek Drive shortly before 4 a.m. on a call of shots fired and arrived to hear yelling inside. Two women and a man came out of the apartment and officers went inside to find Schmitz and the dog dead in a living room area and the other victim wounded in the bedroom.

Witnesses told police it was possible that the shooting may have been sparked by an ongoing conflict over a relationship involving Schmitz.

About 6 a.m. police received calls of a suspicious man near 39th and Marshall Drive who was knocking on doors and demanding to use telephones. Harris was picked up nearby by police and taken in for questioning.

Another man who knew Harris told police that he saw Harris with a gun about 1 a.m. and that Harris threatened that he was going to go to the apartment where the victims were and shoot the male victim, court records say.

Tuesday night, under questioning, Harris initially denied being at the apartment, but later admitted he went to the apartment “to box,” and entered through the back door. He said he went where the male victim was sleeping and began to assault him. But when the victim fought back and got on top of him, Harris said, he shot him to get him off.

Then the victim pulled Schmitz between them and Harris shot her, police said.

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