By Crystal Howerton
"It was very scary," admitted Wilma Vaughn. "My husband, Winfred, was in the basement when I heard a loud, popping noise. I thought he had flipped the electricity off. But, when the bullet came through the bedroom door it sounded like a .22," she explained. "My children and grandchildren had been home for the holidays and had only left that morning. Just before it happened, I had been in the bedroom changing bed linens and Winfred had been in the bathroom in which the bullet entered the door casing. It's very scary how close we came to getting shot."
According to an affidavit written by Knox County Deputy Ryan Bishop, the Sheriff's Office received a phone call around 8:00 p.m. on January 1, 2008 from Winfred Vaughn reporting that someone had fired a gun into his home. "Upon my arrival, I contacted Mr. Vaughn and observed a bullet hole through the north end of the house," said Deputy Bishop. "The bullet had traveled through the outer wall of the house, through the bedroom door and lodged in the bathroom door casing."
Shortly after, Knox County Sheriff Mike Kite and Deputy Bishop recovered two Winchester .45 caliber automatic pistol cartridges casings and one unused. These items were all discovered on Route P near the driveway of the Billy Early residence. "The subjects were apparently stopped in the roadway shooting the firearm at a curve sign and the bullet traveled through the sign and into the Vaughn residence."
Earlier in the evening, the Sheriff's office received a call that the male driver of a tan or silver car had stopped in front of a residence on 2nd Street in Hurdland, MO and fired a firearm into the air. A .45 caliber Winchester automatic pistol cartridge casing was found at the scene.
According to Deputy Bishop, later Edina Police Officer Kelly Hayes observed Matthew Schrage, 24, of rural Hurdland, getting into a maroon Dodge Charger belonging to Chance Rimer, Edina. Schrage's vehicle was similar to the description given by the caller in Hurdland. Officer Hayes observed in plain view .45 caliber cartridges in the floorboard of Schrage's vehicle. Schrage was also identified as being involved in a prior property damage crime involving a .45 caliber handgun.
Trooper Tony O'Brien with the Missouri State Highway Patrol made contact with Schrage and placed him into custody. "One of the occupants of the vehicle who wished to remain anonymous verbally stated to Sheriff Kite and I that he was with Mr. Schrage in the silver vehicle driven by Mr. Schrage. He stated that Mr. Schrage shot at the sign near the Vaughn residence on Route P with .45 caliber handgun," said Deputy Bishop.
Schrage was taken into custody and transported to the Lewis County jail on a twenty-four hold. On January 2, 2008, Schrage was charged with two counts of unlawful use of a weapon and two counts of property damage. He is being held in the Lewis County jail on a $5,000 cash only bond.
The Knox County Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Edina Police Department and the Missouri State Highway Patrol in this investigation.