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CLAYCOMO, MO (KCTV) -
Details have emerged following a homicide in Claycomo Friday, including that suspected killer called police for assistance just minutes before he allegedly opened fire on his family.
Frank Littrell appeared in court Monday charged with killing his father and injuring his sister over a dispute about tools and child custody, a dispute that had been festering since the summer.
Court documents indicate that about 15 minutes before he allegedly walked into his father's parts shop shooting on Friday, he called police asking for help.
Public safety director Jack Foster said preliminary investigation shows that Frank Littrell called city hall just before 5 p.m., asking for a police escort to his father's shop so he could get his pickup. The only officer on duty was transporting a prisoner.
"We told him it would be a few minutes," Foster said.
Soon after that, the officer had to abandon the prisoner transport to respond to the shooting.
"If we would have had two people and he could have talked to an officer, that might have been prevented," trustee Debra Taylor said.
At Monday's board of trustees meeting, Taylor and trustee Jim Stouffer cited the homicide as an example of why they opposed a move almost a year ago to cut the budget for police and fire.
About 50 residents took up nearly all of the seats in the room, and many had something to say.
"Let's not fire any more cops or firemen," resident Dennis Schmidt said. "You need to keep who you have because when I call, I hope the response time is a heck of a lot better."
Board chairman Ben Watkins said the Village of Claycomo is currently $300,000 short of projected income. He is one of three trustees who supported the cuts.
"We are a town of 1,400 people," trustee Linda Thomas told the crowd. "We cannot have Kansas-City-style police."
In the past year, the police staff has gone from 10 full-time employees to eight, according to the former police chief. The former fire chief said the fire department staffing went from 10 to nine.
The two chiefs were demoted two weeks ago and replaced by Foster, a former Kansas City Police Department detective, who took the newly created position of public safety director in charge of both departments.
Foster says some residents seem to have the mistaken impression that the call Frank Littrell made for assistance was a cry for help or a threatening ultimatum.
"Just like any other non-emergency call that would come in," Foster said, "it was a request for assistance. It was a tragic incident, but I don't see how anyone could have anticipated his thought of mind at that time."
Foster said Frank Littrell's sister, who was originally listed in critical condition, is expected to survive.
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