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Family, friends demand justice in the death of a Nixa, Mo. man in January

Published: Nov. 23, 2021 at 9:59 PM CST
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CHRISTIAN COUNTY, Mo. (KY3) - About 60 people held a peaceful protest outside the Christian County Courthouse on Tuesday. Friends and family want answers after a man shot and killed Zachary Shane Rice in Nixa in January. No one has been charged with his death.

The reason friends of Rice decided to protest on Tuesday is it would’ve been Rice’s 42nd birthday.

Friend of more than 20 years Mark Auvil says it’s not the way they would’ve hoped to celebrate his birthday but it was important to show just how much he was loved.

“It’s like we’re spinning wheels in the mud,” Auvil says. “For most of us we still haven’t accepted it because for a lot of us we spoke to him 24 hours before he was gone and then he just wasn’t there anymore.”

Rice was affectionately nicknamed by his friends Chunk after the Goonies character. Auvil describes Rice or “Chunk” as a loyal, one-of-a-kind person.

”My mother and whoever my girlfriend is at the time and Chunk would be the three people who I could always count on and were in touch with me almost every day,” Auvil says.

Rice died in January from a gunshot wound outside his home in Nixa. According to the search warrant obtained by KY3, while police were investigating the shooting Cody Smith arrived on the scene and admitted to the shooting. Smith told police he had been drinking and Rice was angry over a relationship with a woman.

Initially, Smith was taken into custody but then released.

Reed Herron had also been friends with Rice for decades.

“We just want justice for Shane and we want our voices to be heard,” Herron says.”

Herron says the protest was to show the prosecutor that they are looking for answers.

”We think that we’re just getting stalled until we go away and we’re not going to,” Herron says. “If this doesn’t bear any fruit, we’re going to do this again until we get some answers.”

Investigators say a probable cause statement was sent to the Christian County prosecutor on January 18. Since then, we’re told the prosecutor has asked for additional information and police are actively investigating the case.

Auvil and Herron say even though nothing will bring back their best friend, answers will help them start to heal and move on.

”It’s like a whole piece of a giant part of our life just stopped 308 days ago and we have nothing left,” Auvil says.

KY3 reached out to Christian County prosecutor Amy Fite who says she can’t comment on this case. However, Fite does say these investigations can take a lot of time.

To report a correction or typo, please email digitalnews@ky3.com

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