Injured Officer Identified, Suspect in Custody is "Focus of Investigation"
A Springfield police officer is in for a long recovery after he was shot early Monday morning while at the corner of Chestnut Expressway and Glenstone Avenue.
That’s according to Police Chief Paul Williams, who confirmed at a news conference Monday afternoon that Officer Aaron Pearson remains hospitalized in serious but stable condition.
Pearson, who patrols the night shift, responded at around 1:30 a.m. along with two other officers to reports of suspicious activity behind O’Reilly Auto Parts.
“Three officers responded to assist and encountered multiple subjects. The officers split up and were tasked with questioning one of the subjects,” Williams said.
It was at that time that Pearson was shot, leading to a search of the area that resulted in locking down a perimeter, which spanned a wide area near Chestnut and Glenstone and included nearly 50 officers. The Greene County Sheriff’s Department, Missouri State Highway Patrol, and federal officials assisted in the effort, Williams said.
Authorities would later find Joshua Hagood, a white 32-year-old male, hiding in the vicinity. While he is currently being held on unrelated charges at the Greene County Jail, Williams said, Hagood “is the focus of our investigation at this time” and officials “are not actively seeking other suspects.”
Hagood, according to Williams, has a long criminal history and is currently on parole for assault on a law enforcement officer out of Greene County.
It is unclear how many shots were fired, according to Williams. He’s not aware if there was any exchange of gunfire, and says there is no indication that the officer’s gun was fired. No other injuries were reported.
Williams commended the actions of the officers that were initially on scene and the dozens that assisted later.
“The patrol officers who were initially there – Aaron’s squad members – were instrumental in securing the scene and rendering aid to him so that he could be transported and stabilized at the hospital.”
Williams declined to give specifics about the extent of Officer Pearson’s injuries, citing requests by the victim’s family.
The Springfield police chief said officers have counseling services available to them, if desired.
“It affects each of us personally. I think as the leader of the organization it certainly affects me. It’s like one of my kids, to be honest with you. Think of that if it’s in your family and something happened to a member of your family – that’s pretty much how I feel,” Williams said.
Pearson is approaching three years of service with the department just this week. The 30-year-old is married and has two young children.
Pearson is a “great street officer,” Williams said, noting he was awarded a command commendation in 2013 for his work in a drug operation.
Three scenes remained secure as of Monday afternoon to collect evidence, says Williams. They are the northwest corner of Chestnut and Glenstone, where the incident occurred, the southeast corner where the suspect was apprehended, and a portion of Chestnut at Delaware. All other sections that were blocked off have been reopened.
Pearson is the second Springfield police officer shot since 2013. Williams says the last serious injury an officer sustained by gunfire occurred in 1997.
An account to benefit Pearson has been setup by his family through the Fraternal Order of Police. Donations can be made at any Commerce Bank in town.