Top

blog

Stories

 

Cops: Homeowner Mad at Urinating Man on Meramec Float Trip Shoots, Kills Paul Dart

Categories: Crime, News

james-crocker.jpg
James Crocker, 59.
A float trip on the Meramec River this weekend took a tragic turn when a homeowner -- allegedly angry about a man urinating on his private property -- pulled out a gun and shot a man to death, cops say.

The suspect, 59-year-old Steelville resident James Crocker, told cops, "It's my property, and I was going to protect it," according to court records released today.

After fatally shooting the victim, identified as 48-year-old Paul Dart Jr. from Franklin County, Crocker reportedly went to a woman's home nearby and "asked her to call 911 because he had just shot someone on the river," the Crawford County Sheriff's Office says.

See also:
- Wife, 69, Charged in Stabbing Death of Ivan Mullenix, 76, in Town & Country
- Mario Shackelford Killed in Kiener Plaza Over Spilled Beer, Cops Say (Homicide 56)
- St. Louis Man Lawrence Jones, 79, Admits He Repeatedly Sexually Assaulted Horse

When Missouri Highway Patrol officers and state conservation agents arrived to the area on the river west of Steelville, they found "several people on a gravel bar next to the river," the sheriff's office says. "They were led to a man lying on the ground bleeding from an apparent gunshot wound to the head."

The department says in a news release, full document on view below:

Officers began giving aid to the victim while other officers began their investigation as to what had happened. According to numerous witnesses on the scene, an argument ensued between some men over whether one of the men was standing on private property or public property. Witnesses stated the argument escalated and at one point one of the men pulled a gun and fired several shots striking one of the men in the head.

Dart, the victim, was transported to a nearby funeral home where Crawford County coroner Paul Hutson pronounced him dead, officials say. Crocker was subsequently taken into custody and charged with second-degree murder with a cash bond set at $650,000.

meramec-river-file.jpg
via Wikimedia Commons
Meramec River.

Referencing court records released today, the Post-Dispatch has a slew of additional troubling details about the dispute.

The paper says:

In the court papers, Detective Zachary A. Driskill of the Crawford County Sheriff's Office explains that he interviewed Crocker after the shooting. Crocker told him he had seen a man urinating and told him to leave the gravel bar.

Crocker "stated that he told the male that the gravel bar was his property and he did not want him to urinate there and that he needed to leave," Driskill wrote. Crocker said the man refused to leave. Crocker walked back to his vehicle and then turned back and again walked back to the gravel bar. When Crocker returned, men were yelling at him "stating that they weren't going to leave and that the gravel bar was public property."

The victim's widow, Loretta Dart, tells the paper that about 50 of them started an annual seven-mile float trip at 9:30 a.m. and that they had decided to stop so that she could get a beverage and her cousin could urinate.

She offered the P-D this heartbreaking account of the shooting:

"This guy comes out of nowhere. My cousin Bobby went up to go pee in the woods, and this guy comes out behind him with a gun and says, 'This is my private property. Get the (expletive) off of it.'

He's waving his gun at everybody. He shot between Bobby and Paul on the ground. He shot in the air, too....

My husband tried to calm the guy down. He went to the guy's arm to try to stop him, but the guy jerked back and popped him in the face....

I watched him be shot in the face and fall down. I watched my husband bleed to death. He was a wonderful man. He didn't deserve this..."

The woman told the paper that the gunman looked crazed. The paper also notes that property rights along the river are not always clear because the vegetation line changes with river levels.

Here's the full press release from the sheriff's office:

Press Release

Send feedback and tips to the author. Follow Sam Levin on Twitter at @SamTLevin.


Advertisement

My Voice Nation Help
60 comments
ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

So.... he was "protecting his property"... from pee??? Uh, yeah, totally "reasonable". More evidence why guns don't belong in the hands of just anyone. I'm a gun owner for common sense gun laws & this is so beyond stupid, crazy, & downright ridiculous. Any "human" who thinks this man was "justified" in ANY way needs their head examined thoroughly. That's 1st degree MURDER.

Bonnie Coleman Aiello
Bonnie Coleman Aiello

Okay, everyone. Take a close look at your screen for a few moments. Okay? Now tell me if you believe this man should have been sold a gun. Any gun. Bat. Crap. Crazy.

Steve Hatfalvi
Steve Hatfalvi

just pee in a gator aid jug and none of this would have happened, girls just jump in the water and pee. job done.

Steve Hatfalvi
Steve Hatfalvi

do you really want to piss this guy off? get in your boat and get off the Deliverance set.

kennytheminni
kennytheminni

he is nothing but a bully like george zimmerman

damn shame you cant  roll on the river and enjoy yourself

I hope this man and his family can move on and live life they did before this happened its so damn sad

PUT DOWN THE GUNS !

http://wp.me/p2PumG-m4

Jay Brandt
Jay Brandt

The true face of the NRA...this is what happens with a Stand Your Ground mentality...welcome back to 1800s Tombstone!

smdrpepper
smdrpepper

And the GOP think its a good idea to get MORE guns out there..  One of my friends was on this float trip and witnessed what actually happened.  The only reason they went to the shore was to get out of the rain.  This lunatic came out of nowhere and apparently thought he was in Florida.  Seriously, I have floated through there when I still lived in Missouri many times, there is no need to someone to go running around in the woods shooting at anyone. 

kdesautels08
kdesautels08

To all the people trying to justify what the shooter did.. Are you stupid??? The guy shot someone because they were taking a piss on what "Might have been" the shooters property..  Even if he was trespassing... the guy did nothing to threaten the guys life, and call me old fashioned, but trespassing is not a reason to end someones life...

Blake Holloway
Blake Holloway

This situation is the exact reason conceal and carry laws exist!!! This guy was way outta line in shooing this man! He should have called the proper authorities and let them handle it! But u can bet your ass if someone pulls a gun on me I will be pulling and firing mine! I sure hope this moron enjoys his prison vacation while this mans family struggles with this loss

hc.me
hc.me

First of all:

"My husband tried to calm the guy down. He went to the guy's arm to try to stop him, but the guy jerked back and popped him in the face...."

Too simple....Where are the quotes from the offender?

Never scare a landowner carrying a gun, with a group of idiots who just could have moved on, especially after warnings !!!! Life is more precious than winning an argument!

I bet there was drinking going on in that boat, but do not quote me on that!

The entire story needs to be heard.

Bobby Merl Durzo
Bobby Merl Durzo

Encountered the same type of "person" on the Elevenpoint (6-15-13). He was in a power boat and hundreds of others were in canoes or kayaks. He purposely splashed,made waves and intimidated the non power boaters. At one point he and his passenger pulled weapons and fired them. In Riverton, after the float, I reported the events to the Sheriff. We supplied a written account of the events with boat identification number. To date we have no response from anyone. I am telling all my boating friends to be aware and either avoid Missouri rivers or carry personal protection gear. It appears that little will be done until there are deaths.

dalediversity
dalediversity topcommenter

I think this guy is the mayor of St. Charles!!! 

cuivre2004
cuivre2004

There are some pretty weird gaps in the story.  If someone is waving a gun around, why do you grab his arm to calm him down?  That would do the opposite, obviously.  Guy (trespasser) should have left the area- period!  "Liquid courage" was probably involved in this killing.

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

Stupid hillybilly with his tough guy with a gun mentality.
Im sure those guys weren't harming anyone and if this small dick wonder had thought they were im sure the police could have cleared it all up anyway.

But no, he had to be big tough guy red neck with his gun and shoot someone over some stupid bs.

cirroji
cirroji

@Steve Hatfalvi We have many signs of Tresspasser will be shot.

the jug method is the safest imo

hc.me
hc.me

@smdrpepper " there is no need to someone to go running around in the woods shooting at anyone." BOY, IS THAT A MISREPRESENTATION, OR WHAT?

Freddie
Freddie

@kdesautels08 Having 4 people converge on you one with rocks in his hands shouting put down the gun and we will see who has the power seems fairly threatening to someone on their own property telling people to leave.  Oh and trying to calm him down by taking his gun away was yet another wrong move.  They all signed an agreement just as I do every year I go to Steelville to float if someone tells you to get off their property you leave.  I am not saying it was right but I don't have all the facts and neither does anyone here!  

cirroji
cirroji

@Blake Holloway Yeah then there would of been 2 dead people. GJ on that philosophy.

He probably would of shot more if someone had pulled out a gun. People thinking this is the new wild west is the worst thing to happen to america

cirroji
cirroji

@hc.me

Who here wouldn't shoot someone if they grabbed their loaded and cocked gun.

"OH OKAY U SHOOT MEEH AYYYYAY!" come on now. Tried to be a badass and got shot.

Welcome to reality.

kirches
kirches

@hc.me reread. he did that AFTER the man started shooting wildly. there was a ricochet and they thought someone was shot. they were only even there because it was storming and had said they were leaving. he was insane. how do I know? because two people I love had to witness it and will probably never be the same.

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

@hc.me life is more precious than winning an argument...

wise words the shooter should have listened to

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@Bobby Merl Durzo What you encountered probably was a deputy of the sheriff's. More proof that these backwoods idiots in rural Missurah hate  people 'on their rivers, in their woods', etc. These people are worthless inbred jerkoffs, the UN should bring in their black helicopters and exterminate these fucks.

cirroji
cirroji

@Bobby Merl Durzo At least you guys did the right thing and nobody tried to be superman and you contacted the police.

when people try to resolve things its great. but some people that are aggressive as the people you mentioned (powerboating) the best thing to do is suck it up and let them think they are the big man.

you may feel stupid that youlost an argument fight but that's better than losing a arm or even life.

kirches
kirches

@cuivre2004 nope. that happened after he was shooting and a ricocheted rock was mistaken for someone hit. they stopped because it was storming and had already said they were leaving. he was insane. and that family had to watch their loved one be gunned down on a family float trip. my friends were two of those who had to. two others were his wife and son. imagine that before you comment defending this nut job.

hc.me
hc.me

@jealousblues1 Hillbilllies are cool...especially when they are able to tell their side of the story, river rat!

johna1933
johna1933

@jealousblues1 try going on his property see where it gets you! Come on mine and i promise you wont be walking out!

Best wishes fellow stupid hillbilly

ThatsMyTattooo
ThatsMyTattooo

@cirrojiTrespassers will be shot? What, for coming on your property? That's what's wrong with this country and why we need stiffer gun laws. You do NOT have the right to KILL a HUMAN BEING unless they are trying to kill/harm YOU. So fucking stupid it makes me sick that people actually think they have the right to kill over this. I own several guns, and I would never KILL someone for simply trespassing. Fucking moron. These are the people that do NOT need guns. Total dumbass. 

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@cirroji you sound like a real cool inbred backwoods piece of shit. Do you make your own meth?

kirches
kirches

@hc.me @smdrpepper he DID shoot wildly...right before he shot a man dead in front of his whole family. that is NOT a misrepresentation.

moyles84
moyles84

@jaco1175 Rural Missurah people are not the problem and if you think they are then you are more of a "jacoff1175" than I originally thought!

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

Hillbillies are cool when they drag them out of of the river dead or find them od-ed on meth. Not so cool when they find them buggering the chickens.

jaco1175
jaco1175 topcommenter

@johna1933 you sound like a worthless inbred redneck piece of shit, the UN should come take your land and drown your whole dumbfuck family in the river, clear up the fucking gene pool in backwoods missurah

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

@johna1933 @jealousblues1 

its funny all the people who think their property has more rights than a living person who was doing them no harm.

I understand you not wanting people on your property, but you dont just pick a fight and kill someone over something so stupid when they arnt posing a threat to your life.  Thats why we have the police. 

I dont just get to shoot a man because he walks across my yard.

Small minded thugs do that

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

@johna1933 @jealousblues1 
Those men were doing him no harm and he could have simply called the police after he asked them to leave...but nope he had to be a big tough guy with his gun.  He is going to jail (like you would be) and he ruined a couple lives. 

All for what?


I bet he had dreamed of this situation so many times before he did this.  He showed em real good huh?


cirroji
cirroji

@ThatsMyTattooo  @PeopleUnableToRead

Jesus..where to start for a final rebuttal over something I AGREE WITH! 

NEVER DID I SAY OR MENTION I AGREE OR SUPPORT TRESSPASSING/SHOOT ON SITE SIGNS.

ALL I Stated was that if I saw that sign, I wouldn't just treck on the land. Its a matter of self preservation.

If that's signs there and I get shot, well I'm shot and its because I chose to ignore something a crazy person has posted (because he thinks he has the right to do so)

Either way if its right or wrong, it doesn't cure a bullet hole.

-TL:DR x2-

When dealing with people , there is ALWAYS a crazy person in the group. ALL I am trying to say is that I would rather Be SAFE than SORRY.

--cont'd (ranting)

I don't know why in the shit some of these commenters can't re-read or ask a question. Talk some shit , go ahead because you obviously are too stupid to realize what I was trying to say.

I PERSONALLY DO NOT SUPPORT 90% of CURRENT GUN LAWS.

I do not support concealed carry,

I do not support Assault Rifles,

I Do NOT support armor piercing or high capacity magazines.

The ONLY things I Support

I support a gun in the house to prevent a intruder/robber

and I support small to medium sized rifles for hunting

small pistols up to larger hunting rifles for a shooting range.

THATS IT.

To think I would condone the killing of a person is just stupid. I was shot as a child (6 years old) and first person know what the horrible pain, and terror it can bring.

moyles84
moyles84

 @cirroji 

To your first point, you used 3 exclamation points in one sentence. I get it was a reply to an aggressive comment. I am not sure what you meant by "jeez kinda see why you guys are stereotyped now." and I am not sure you really know either. However, I am not mad at you at all. Have a good day.

cirroji
cirroji

@moyles84 

I used 4 Exclamation points in 7 paraghs.

Don't get mad at me, he said I sounded like a meth head. I mean, ive NEVER  been accused of such a horrible thing, LET ALONE because said person apparently lives in the thick of it.

Your mad I made fun of Missouri, say that? nothing wrong with state pride.

LOL and you do realize, its a RESPONSE to an aggressive comment.

Because I valued my safety over URINATING IN PUBLIC

jeez kinda see why you guys are stereotyped now.

What does meth have to do with exclamation points anyways?

! = has never to my knowledge been characterized as drug slang.

moyles84
moyles84

@cirroji You are an idiot for talking crap about someone because of where they are from. You are also cursing and using exclamation points like you are on meth.   

cirroji
cirroji

@jaco1175 

I sound like a backwoods piece of shit, because I think its safer to take risks that don't involve an outcome of me being attacked?

Sounds like you aren't intelligent enough to actually do anything but swear, you come off as pretty stupid.

I live in Northern Illinois (not in the country either my friend) amd we have a major tributary river to the Mississippi, the rock river. We have many many people who actually float using the boat launches. Me myself I am a fisherman.

I have seem many people floating being very rude, and the drinking on the river has gotten to the point the local conservation police have had to set up check points due to the littering and violence issues that have came from too many drunk people in the sun all day (arguments/fights)

TL:DR? (since you seem of low IQ)

I never said it was right. All I was saying is that the mentality of private property owners here is "I will shoot you if I see you on my land" and I figure its better off to use a method like a jug, then risk my life for some redneck's own anger issues.

You want to bet he tough guy, then explain why someone got hurt because of it. I live in a city with some bad gun crime, sure is better to be the faggot that can walk, than the tough guy in a wheelchair

On a side note since you are apparently a dickhead,

Meth, LOL.. What assumption did that even come from?

OH WAIT, your from MISSOURI!!! fucking meth capital of America.That's hilarious, don't get ME involved because your fucking state can't for some reason not tweak all day.

cirroji
cirroji

@kirches @hc.me @smdrpepper warning shots seem wild to people not knowing whats exactly going on.

obviously everyone wasn't close or he wouldn't of been able to fire the first without hitting anyone.

people thought someone was shot, because , once again. nobody was close enough to really tell.

ever seen someone shot? pretty unmistakable

johna9416
johna9416

@jaco1175 @johna1933 wow you must be one lonely worthless person with a very low self esteem!!  dumbfuck come try to take my land lets see how well it works for ya!

kirches
kirches

@jealousblues1 @johna1933 your grey area property line does not allot you the right to murder a man in front of his family for stopping during a storm. 

jealousblues1
jealousblues1 topcommenter

@johna1933 @jealousblues1 you don't get to kill someone for peeing on land that MIGHT be yours, might be public.  That's RIDICULOUS,  Get real.  Its not like he was raping his wife or was an eminent threat to him or his family.

This man was a thug just like any other thug who commits murder.

johna1933
johna1933

@jealousblues1 @johna1933 Bullshit, they shouldnt be on private property in the first place! I highly doubt he "dreamed of this situation" However yes he got arrested but that is due to a awful justice system and shitty government! If it is his property then he has the right to protect it as would i!

Now Trending

St. Louis Concert Tickets

From the Vault

 

General

Loading...