Family of man killed in Dade County, Mo. officer-involved shooting seeking answers

Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 11:12 PM CDT
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DADE COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - The Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a fatal officer-involved shooting in Dade County, at the request of the Dade County Sheriff’s Office.

Family say Gary Deering was shot and killed by a Dade County deputy on Wednesday near Stockton Lake following a well-being check.

Family members of the Marine Corps veteran said it has been difficult to do even just the little things this past week. They said they still have many unanswered questions.

”It’s hard for me to just do normal activities,” Deering’s brother-in-law Ronnie Keltner said. “Cause it’s always in my mind thinking, what happened? You know, why? Why did this happen?”

Keltner said Deering and his sister were spending time at Stockton Lake where the couple volunteered. After spending a little time apart on Wednesday, Keltner said his sister asked for a well-being check on Deering. She said he was not acting like himself that day.

Deputies found him on Wednesday at Ruark Bluff East Campground.

”Whenever he [the deputy] got out there I don’t know what happened at that time,” Keltner said. “Nobody knows.”

Keltner said he and his sister feel like they have been left in the dark, even after trying to get a few answers. He said he understand law enforcement have to investigate the incident, but he still wishes the family had some insight into the situation.

”I realize there’s an investigation going on but I mean at least we could get something from somebody,” he said. “Somebody could tell us a little bit of something. They’ve still got his truck impounded. That’s all I’m asking. We want answers. We want to know what happened.”

Family do know two things: Deering did have a gun on him inside his vehicle, where he was shot, and he suffered from PTSD. Keltner’s sister said deputies told her the compartment where the gun was stored was never opened.

Keltner said his brother-in-law was a very conscientious gun owner, and even taught him what to do if an officer ever pulled him over while having a gun inside the vehicle.

”He always told me, he said, ‘Ronnie if you ever get stopped, the first thing you tell them, the law enforcement, is you have a handgun in your vehicle,’ “ Keltner described. “He said, ‘the next thing you do is put your hands on the steering wheel and you leave them there. And you do exactly what the officer tells you to do.”

Deering was a Vietnam vet, and did struggle with PTSD. While Keltner said it was not always a huge issue, he and other family wonder if that played a role in the incident.

”Sometimes something would set him off and sometimes it didn’t take a whole lot,” Keltner said. “Sometimes we’d be somewhere and there’d be a loud noise and you know, he’d jerk back. And you know, that was response to being over in Vietnam.”

Keltner said Deering was never violent, and was usually very friendly. He said he was close to Deering and would fish and travel with him often. In the meantime, Keltner said family hope law enforcement will soon be able to give them some of the answers they have been looking for.

Neither the Lawrence County Sheriff’s Office or the Dade County Sheriff’s Office commented on the investigation. Lawrence County Sheriff Brad DeLay did confirm his office is handling the investigation at the request of the Dade County Sheriff’s Office.

DeLay said Missouri State Highway Patrol does not have authority to investigate unless asked by the primary jurisdiction.

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