A Raytown man has been charged in Thursday’s fatal shooting of a Paola, Kansas, man outside a Blue Springs restaurant.
Jackson County prosecutors charged John Dewayne Jeffries, 24, with second-degree murder, first-degree robbery and two counts of armed criminal action. Jeffries allegedly shot Clinton Peckman inside a work van parked at the Bethlehem Cafe between Northwest Woods Chapel Road and Northwest South Outer Road, near Interstate 70, then tried to carjack a vehicle outside another nearby restaurant before he was located and arrested.
According to court documents, surveillance video from the Waffle House restaurant next to Bethlehem Cafe showed Peckman’s van pull into a spot in the Bethlehem Cafe parking lot shortly after 11 a.m. Soon after that the passenger door opened and a man matching Jeffries’ description got out and ran behind the Waffle House. The driver side door opened and witnesses ran toward that side, where Peckman collapsed. One witness from Waffle House said she saw two men wrestling in the van.
A responding officer found Peckman lying on his back showing no signs of life. A detective later saw that Peckman bled heavily from a single gunshot wound to the chest. The bullet had exited from Peckman’s back.
Officers noticed Jeffries running from the KFC/Taco Bell parking lot across the street from Waffle House toward the Firehouse Bar, where he was arrested. Jeffries told police he had given the gun to a friend and refused to answer any more questions.
According to court documents, Jeffries had tried to steal a vehicle from a man and his wife outside the KFC/Taco Bell. The man said Jeffries came up from behind as his wife got into the passenger seat and demanded the keys. The man gave Jeffries the key fob, and Jeffries pointed gun at the man’s wife and said, “I need your car.” The man then grabbed Jeffries’ arm and directed it up toward the ceiling when the gun went off into the ceiling.
The couple then went back inside the restaurant and watched as Jeffries put the car in reverse and nearly struck the curb and building before the car became inoperable. Jeffries then took off running. Police found an empty handgun, which the wife said belonged to Jeffries, on a sidewalk near the car.
Police later learned Peckman had driven from his Kansas home to work at the Autumn Place Apartments in Blue Springs, a couple blocks from the shooting. Peckman had been there with another employee when he asked for the keys to the work van and drove to a gas station and/or home improvements store. Police said they do not know when Peckman and Jeffries crossed paths but believe they did not know each other prior to the shooting.
Earlier Thursday morning, according to court documents, an Independence resident had called dispatch after hearing several shots fired, going to the window and seeing a man get into the passenger side of a Ford Explorer that drove off. About three hours later, a woman called Blue Springs Police to say she learned Jeffries had damaged her car with those gunshots in Independence. That caller said Jeffries was in the Autumn Place Apartments in a stolen vehicle and possibly armed, then called back again to say Jeffries was in an apartment complex across the street from Autumn Place.
According to Missouri court records, Jeffries had an arrest warrant for failure to appear at an October court hearing. A possession of controlled substance charge violated his probation after he pleaded guilty in June 2016 to tampering with a motor vehicle in Blue Springs.
Prosecutors have requested a bond of $250,000 in Thursday's shooting.