Police in Bolivar, Mo. investigating deadly shooting; 1 in custody

Published: Mar. 23, 2020 at 8:27 AM CDT
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The Bolivar, Mo. Police Department is investigating a shooting death.

Officers responded to a home Monday around 5:30 a.m. to the 200 block of West Buffalo Road after receiving a call of shots fired. When officers arrived, they found Joshua Shawn Phillips, 35, of Bolivar, dead on the floor of the home.

Police later arrested a man wanted for questioning in the case in the 100 block of College Street. Officers booked him into the Polk County Jail on suspicion of first-degree murder.

Police still haven't told us who they think the shooter is, but it took three departments and the FBI to track him down. Now, those departments are trying to figure out why the shooting happened.

"The Bolivar Police Department, we don't work incidents of this nature frequently," said Police Chief Mark Webb.

That's why Chief Webb asked for help finding the man police think shot and killed Joshua Phillips in a home early Monday morning.

"A lot of sheriff's departments and local police agencies, the small municipalities just don't have the budget to obtain the specialized investigative equipment, or the tactical equipment necessary to take on an armed suspect," Webb said.

Webb reached out to the Polk County Sheriff's Office, Missouri State Highway Patrol and the FBI.

Four hours after the shooting, they arrested their suspec, a Hispanic man with a beard and the number 13 tattooed on his face.

Turns out, this wasn't the suspect's first run-in with Bolivar PD.

"He's been involved in some other incidents here in the Bolivar area," said the chief.

In fact, Webb said the suspect was out of jail on bond from another shooting. Now, he's back behind bars, as the prosecutor's office considers what formal charges to file.

The chief knows, even with this suspect in custody, his work is just beginning.

"Acts of violence and assaults are all going up, but that's kind of the way it will be throughout the area," Webb said.

As for that 13 tattoo on the suspect's face, it could be tied to a national gang, and the chief said that's something they're looking into. He said that might be why the FBI was so interested.

If you know anything about this case, call 911 or the Bolivar Police Department.