3 injured after police pursuit ends in crash in downtown Springfield

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. -- A person wanted for questioning about a deadly shooting over the weekend led police on a high speed chase this afternoon

Officers tried to pull over a car near National and Elm. The driver refused to stop. That's when the chase started.

It ended abruptly in front of Saint Agnes Cathedral at Cherry and Jefferson when the driver slammed the car into a concrete wall in front the church.

"I heard a long screech, about, oh at least two to three seconds. I was wondering if there was going to be a bang at the end of it. Sure enough, pretty loud," said Joseph Peelor.

He said the sound of the wreck startled him.

"I was about 50 yards or less, just right down here by the statue, the Jesus statue," he said.

By the time he walked around the corner to the front of St. Agnes Catholic Church police had the car surrounded.

"I heard hands up, hands up, hands up, three times. It was pretty loud vocally. They were pretty serious about it," explained Peelor.

No one got out. Three people inside the car were hurt when the car crashed into a concrete wall.

Lieutenant Tony Vienhage with Springfield Police said, "Any pursuit can be dangerous. I think there was some high speeds involved."

Officers with special investigations unit was trying to get the driver to pull over.

Instead, the driver took off.

"They actually, at one point, lost sight of them. Then discovered that they crashed the vehicle here in front of the church," said Vienhage.

Investigators have been working to find the person responsible for shooting Marcus Gilbert, in the head Sunday at a house on North Grant Ave.

Gilbert died at the hospital.

The shooter has been off the radar until Wednesday.

"They have some suspect information. They were following up on that and believe that one of the person's in the vehicle could have been involved in that situation," said Vienhage.

Officers combed through the wrecked car looking for any evidence connected to the Gilbert's homicide.

"They must have had some idea of who was involved to chase them that fast. It was a pretty bad crash though as you can see," said Peelor.

The names or conditions of the people inside that car have not been released.

Springfield Police rarely engage in car chases. They have a list of criteria the situation has to meet to initiate one.

In this case, the department felt the need to take a person, who may have killed someone, off the streets.