Second man arrested in Independence homicide

By The Examiner staff

A Lee’s Summit man recognized in part because of a missing arm is the second person to be charged in connection with a fatal shooting early Monday at an Independence motel.


Police arrested Tyler Russell, 29, Tuesday at a hotel near Worlds of Fun. Jackson County prosecutors Wednesday charged him with second-degree murder, two counts of first-degree robbery and three counts of armed criminal action. Co-defendant Steve Decker, 26, faces the same charges; he was arrested Monday afternoon at his Independence home.

Tomas Galvan, 36, of Independence, died after he was robbed and shot in the pre-dawn hours Monday at the Executive Inn and Suites, off U.S. 40 near Phelps Road.

According to court documents, when police arrested Decker after he’d brought his son home from elementary school Monday, the son told police the shooting suspect only had one arm, and when Decker’s father arrived to pick up his grandson, the boy further said the suspect was Russell.

Police had identified Decker in part from the motel’s video surveillance, which showed his longer hair and also captured his vehicle’s license plate. Upon further review, police noticed the second suspect in the shooting appeared to be missing an arm.

According to court documents, a woman with Galvan said he had come to the motel late Sunday to celebrate her birthday, then later called two men to get a ride home. She said Galvan argued with the men about them stealing something from him, and one of them later recognized Galvan as someone who had robbed a friend of his in the past.

The woman said the men pointed guns at her and Galvan, told Galvan to “drop his pockets” and made him take off his shoes. When Galvan tried to grab a gun from Russell, he shot Galvan in the head. The men then took Galvan’s property and the woman’s cell phone and driver’s license and fled.

Police learned Monday afternoon Decker had picked up his son from school, and school staff said Decker had been crying and they overheard him say he was going to prison for 25 years. When police called Decker, he sounded upset and said he didn’t mean for it to happen and he was only giving someone a ride. 

When arrested, Russell denied shooting anyone and then declined to say anything further without an attorney.

Decker is being held on a $100,000 cash bond. Prosecutors requested the same bond for Russell.