by Nick Wright

Brandon Lukenbill, 33, of Nevada, was shot and killed after an altercation following a lengthy pursuit involving a Vernon County Sheriff’s deputy Wednesday morning according to Missouri State Highway Patrol Sgt. Shawn Griggs, Division of Drug and Crime Control.

Griggs said the MSHP was called to the scene of an officer-involved shooting at approximately 3 a.m., Wednesday, east of Nevada near Routes K and E. Vernon County Sheriff Jason Mosher said it is standard procedure to have another agency investigate when one of their officers is involved in such an incident.

According to the preliminary investigation, Griggs said the deputy — who is not being named at this time — fired his weapon once striking Lukenbill. An autopsy was scheduled Friday, June 23, at Cox Health in Springfield, Mo. A statement released by Sheriff Mosher Wednesday said the deputy has been placed on administrative leave pending the results of the investigation.

When asked if drugs or alcohol were a factor, Griggs said those results wouldn’t be available until after the autopsy.

When asked if Lukenbill had a weapon of any kind, Griggs responded, “That is one of the things we are continuing to investigate.”

When asked how and why the pursuit was started, Griggs said the VCSO was handling that part of the investigation. Sheriff Mosher refused to comment on that subject earlier Thursday and as of press time had not returned calls seeking clarification.

In an emailed statement, Griggs wrote: “The Division of Drug and Crime Control of the Highway Patrol conducts every investigation as completely and thoroughly as possible. General procedures are followed each time which includes securing, photographing, videoing and reconstructing the entire crime scene. Statements and interviews are obtained from officers, witnesses and any other developed leads or sources of information. All evidence is submitted for forensic examination, which may include trace evidence, ballistic evidence, gunshot residue evidence, etc. If necessary autopsies are attended by our investigators; and the medical examiner’s report is included as part of the complete case file.

At the conclusion of the investigation, all case facts will be presented to the Vernon County prosecuting attorney for final case determination.”

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