Ozark MO Nov 27 2015 A 37-year-old woman was killed after she shot at employees of a bail bonding company, then exchanged fire with law enforcement before being found dead inside the company Wednesday afternoon in Ozark, officials say.
Somer Speer was found inside 417 Bail Bonds, said Sgt. Jason Pace of the Missouri State Highway Patrol, although it’s unclear if she was killed by gunfire from law enforcement. No officers were hurt in the incident.
At 2 p.m. Christian County 911 received a call that a woman was brandishing a weapon outside 417 Bail Bonds, Pace said.
In May, Speer, an employee of 417 Bail Bonds, was charged in Greene County for second degree vehicular assault in an intoxicated state and tampering with a motor vehicle, Pace said. She was out on bail, but her bail was revoked for possible criminal activity, he said.
A different bail bonding company had approached 417 Bail Bonds and Speer opened fire, Pace said. Then she also shot at responding law enforcement from a window of the building, he said, and officers returned fire. Pace declined to name the bonding company who approached 417 Bail Bonds.
Around 4 p.m, a tactical team entered 417 Bail Bonds, then left shortly afterward before crime scene tape went up around the business.
According to online court records, Joe Passanise was Speer’s lawyer for her May charges. Passanise said Speer was a good woman and a mother.
“Somer (Speer) was coming out of an abusive relationship and on her way to a better life … she was overwhelmed by circumstance and couldn’t cope,” he said.
Passanise said he recalled that Speer’s May charges were for allegedly driving while impaired and hitting a man on either a motorcycle or moped. He confirmed that Speer was the woman pictured on 417 Bail Bonds’ Facebook page.
Ozark Police, Nixa Police, Christian County Sheriff’s Department and the highway patrol responded to the scene immediately. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department also came to the scene later.
Before the scene was declared safe, multiple peace officers were on the scene, some taking cover behind cars with guns drawn.
A large military-style vehicle also responded to the scene.
Debbie Rude was on the square downtown Wednesday afternoon. She said she heard one burst of six to eight shots at about 1:45 p.m., and another burst of shots 15 minutes later. Rude said was driving downtown to go shopping, when law enforcement vehicles came flying down the road and passed her.
“I just started praying,” she said.
Employees said the historic courthouse was on lockdown at about 2:30 p.m., but County Commissioner Ray Weter said the lockdown had been lifted as of 3:20 p.m.
The highway patrol is investigating the incident at the Ozark Police Chief Tim Clothier’s request, to “protect the integrity of the investigation,” Clothier said. Pace said there were no hostages involved.
Tina DeLong is the owner of Mama’s Style Kitchen which is located about 100 yards down the street from 417 Bail Bonds. She said she was on her way to Branson when employees called.
DeLong said she immediately headed for restaurant and as she walking in, heard gunshots.
“We just ran inside and locked the door and stayed inside,”
DeLong said that because of the incident and its proximity to her business, she plans on taking a class to carry a concealed weapon early next week.