An Independence man faces a murder charge in the death of his mother’s fiance.
Police say he shot and wounded the man, stood over him and fired several more times, drove off, was quickly spotted by police, led them on a brief chase on U.S. 24 and when stopped told officers to shoot him.
William M. Miller-Kirkland, 26, was charged late Thursday with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. Jackson County prosecutors asked that he be held on $250,000 bond.
According to a police report given to prosecutors, it happened in an apartment on North Osage Street immediately south of the Vaile Mansion in north-central Independence.
Police say they were called to a disturbance at 2:57 a.m. Thursday. Miller-Kirkland’s mother said she and her fiance, Teddis Burns-El, were asleep when they heard banging and screaming outside and realized it was Miller-Kirkland.
Miller-Kirkland’s nearby home was recently burglarized, and his mother told police that he believed Burns-El was in on it or was covering for someone who was. She said her son was drunk and said he was yelling so loudly that she pushed him against the door and covered his mouth to quiet him down.
Burns-El walked away to diffuse the situation, but he also shouted to the woman that Miller-Kirkland had a gun. She told police she saw Burns-El holding his own gun at his side, not aimed at anyone. Miller-Kirkland told police Burns-El did aim the gun.
The mother said she saw her son’s finger on the trigger of the pistol and was afraid it would go off. She tried to get it from him, but then let go. He shoved her aside and shot Burns-El in the arm. Burns-El fell to the floor, dropping his own gun.
Miller-Kirkland stood over him and fired several more times. Police later recovered 14 shell casings from the pistol that they confirmed Miller-Kirkland bought last March at the C&R Gun Shop on Noland Road.
Burns-El was alive, with a faint pulse, when police arrived. He was pronounced dead at Centerpoint Medical Center.
After shooting Burns-El, Miller-Kirkland drove off in a white GMC Yukon. About six minutes after the shooting, an Independence police officer spotted him on U.S. 24 a few blocks east of Noland. There was a brief pursuit, and then the Yukon stopped.
Miller-Kirkland’s girlfriend told police he called her at 3:06, saying he was being pulled over and, “I’m going away for a while.”
Miller-Kirkland was ordered out of the vehicle, but police said he refused to cooperate, told officers to shoot him and was taken into custody only after officers had to use physical force to make the arrest.
Miller-Kirkland at first denied to police that he knew why he was being arrested, that he had stopped at any home in Independence or that he fled police and resisted arrest. Then he said he had stopped to see his mother, and he said Burns-El had pulled a gun and made a motion as if to indicate Burns-El had aimed it. Then asked for an attorney, ending his interview with police.