Federal plea in Independence motel shooting

By The Examiner staff

A Wellington, Missouri man has pleaded guilty to illegal possession of a gun used in an August shootout at an Independence motel.

Randy McNaugh, 54, pleaded guilty Thursday in federal court in Kansas City to one count of felony possession and faces up to 10 years in prison. According to court documents, he was arrested Aug. 25 after he ran from police into a wooded area and was located by a K-9 police dog.

The shooting happened Aug. 8 at the Best Western Truman Inn off Noland Road just north of Interstate 70. The motel has since been closed.

According to court documents, witnesses said McGaugh got into a shootout with another person at the motel, identified in court documents as “R.C.” McGaugh had fired nine shots through the door of R.C.’s motel room, and R.C. had fired three shots through the door at McGaugh. Both had fled by the time officers arrived.

On Aug. 25, based on information from a confidential source, officers found McGaugh getting out of a vehicle outside an Independence home. He ran toward a wooded area behind the house, and police used a K-9 dog, who sniffed out McGaugh on the ledge of a creek bed under thick brush. Below the ledge, officers found a 9mm handgun with 18 rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber.

McNaugh had multiple prior felony convictions for resisting arrest, tampering with a motor vehicle, domestic assault, burglary and drug possession. The case was investigated by Independence Police and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.

After that shooting call and numerous other calls for service at the Truman Inn, including stolen vehicles and illegal drug distribution, police made a sweep of the motel Sept. 15. Officers arrested about 15 people, some with felony warrants who’d been staying at the motel. Police noticed code enforcement violations, and inspectors from the Community Development Department followed up and learned the new owner had not applied for a business license.

An invalid business license voided any health permits the business might have – in this case lodging, pool, and food and drink. City staff also noted “unsanitary conditions, multiple unresolved property maintenance violations and construction taking place without proper permits.”

A new motel owner has started the application process for a business license, city officials said, but it is unknown when that new owner took over. The motel currently remains closed.