CHERRYVALE — Law enforcement on Monday were still looking for the suspect in a shooting that happened Friday afternoon in Cherryvale.
A Cherryvale resident, Zach Hammond, 32, was shot once on the right side of his face outside his home. He was flown to Freeman Hospital in Joplin, where he underwent surgery to close the wound and repair his ear. The bullet struck the right side of his face and exited through his right ear.
Hammond posted a video on his Facebook page Friday afternoon to warn people of the shooting. The video showed his wound, his bloody shirt and you can hear his father relaying the license plate number for the Lincoln LS that was allegedly involved in the gunfire. They also posted a photo of the tan car and the young driver standing beside it. The video appeared to show the wound on the left side of Hammond’s face. He said the video was a mirror image.
Parsons police found the car Friday night in the 3100 block of Dirr. The car had a Labette County tag. Cherryvale police responded to Parsons and impounded the car. The shooting suspect was not found.
On Monday, Hammond described the events leading to the shooting and its aftermath. He said he and his father were putting up a fence when he heard a car speed by. The paved street doesn’t have stop signs. Hammond said some drivers treat it like a speedway. He said he’s talked to the city about adding speed bumps or stop signs, but nothing has been done so far.
Hammond said he heard the driver stepping on the gas and spinning tires on the street. The car sped by the house, he guessed driving at over 60 mph. Hammond said he yelled at the driver to slow down. About 10 minutes later, he saw the same car speeding down the road. He walked to the road to try to get the car to slow down.
The car didn’t slow. Hammond said out of anger he threw his drill at the speeding car and the drill glanced off the top of the Lincoln. The driver took about 300 feet to stop the vehicle, Hammond said.
The driver poked his head out of the vehicle and asked what the problem was. Hammond said he told the driver he needed to slow down because kids play near that street and a kid could get killed.
According to Hammond, the driver said: “We can do whatever we want to in this town.”
Hammond explained again that children played on and near the street. The driver asked Hammond if he wanted to get shot.
Hammond said at that point he knew the driver may mean to harm him so he went inside his home and retrieved a pistol. Hammond’s father took pictures of the car and driver that have been posted on Facebook. As Hammond got back into the garage, he saw his father getting ready to walk into the garage and heard gunshots.
“So I tried to get out of that garage as quickly as I could,” Hammond said.
He thinks he heard up to six gunshots from possibly a handgun. One of the bullets struck the right side of Hammond’s face just as he got out of the garage.
The impact of the bullet spun Hammond around. He got to his pickup and returned fire, three to five gunshots, though he said he was not sure how many shots he fired. The car was near vacant lots and was taking off at this time. Hammond said he and his father were concerned the car would return. They sent out the video to let people know what happened and hopefully aid in the shooter’s arrest.
Hammond said of the six shots he remembers hearing, some of the bullets entered his home. Two of them struck on either side of an adult sitting in the house. A child was in the house as well. Only Hammond was injured.
Hammond said he was reluctant to get into the ambulance. He spent an hour and a half in surgery at Freeman getting stitches and repairs to his right ear.
After a little sleep, he went to a class for work on Saturday.
“It is just a strange thing to happen in such a small town,” Hammond said.
“Just a scary and surreal moment. It’s a really crazy, crazy event. It was just something you don’t expect.”