Man charged in fatal shooting alleges game with friend

By The Examiner staff

A Blue Springs man has been charged in the fatal shooting of his friend in a McDonald’s bathroom Monday evening – the result of a “game” the two roommates played with each other, he told police.

Joseph Mayes

Jackson County prosecutors charged Joseph Mayes, 20, with involuntary manslaughter and armed criminal action in the shooting death of 19-year-old Harry Bowers of Lee’s Summit.

The shooting happened shortly about 7:50 p.m., Monday, at the fast-food restaurant at Mock Avenue and Missouri 7, just south of Interstate 70. According to court documents, Mayes and Bowers often played a game in which they pointed unloaded guns at each other and pulled the trigger.

Mayes, Bowers and another friend were hanging out at the McDonald’s and Mayes and Bowers went to the bathroom. Mayes said Bowers came up from behind and put his gun to Mayes’ stomach and pulled the trigger to make it click. Mayes then pulled out his gun, pointed at Bower and pulled the trigger, not knowing the gun had chambered round. Bowers fell to the floor and said, “You shot me.”

Mayes ran outside, told a friend he had accidentally shot Bowers and continued running. The friend caught up with him, and Mayes called another friend to get a ride to Grain Valley.

At a relative’s house, Mayes shaved off his shoulder-length hair to change his appearance, but he was then convinced to turn himself in. Blue Springs Police arrested him outside the Grain Valley Police office. Mayes told police he had known Bowers about four years, and the two had been roommates for a couple months. It was normal, he said, that the two pointed guns at each other.

Police found Mayes’ gun in his friend’s car.

Prosecutors requested a $25,000 bond.

The shooting marks the first homicide this year in Blue Springs.