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Suspect shot, killed after firing upon law officers

by Mark Vasto
Landmark reporter

Missouri State Highway Patrol Troopers shot and killed a 23-year-old Westboro, Missouri man after a high-speed chase ended in a shootout just before 11 p.m. on Saturday along Interstate 29 in Platte County near I-435.

The incident began just after 10:30 when a trooper attempted to stop a Dodge pickup driven by Seth L. Martin for speeding near the intersection of I-29 and Highway 36 in Buchanan County. After the motorist refused to pull over, troopers notified members of the Platte County Sheriff’s Department, who then deployed a tire deflation device known as a “stop stick” near the 24-mile marker of the interstate.

The tire spikes, which are designed to release air gradually from the tires, apparently took effect on three tires but Martin was able to continue southbound on I-29 for another 8-miles.

At the 16-mile marker, Martin allegedly attempted to strike a trooper who was on foot deploying another set of tire spikes in the roadway. After striking the tire spikes, Martin continued south for about a mile before losing control of the vehicle, sliding sideways across the roadway and coming to rest in a southbound driving lane of I-29.

Martin then exited his vehicle, firing an M-16 assault rifle at authorities as he fled for a grassy area to the side of the interstate, hitting two patrol cars. Martin then sat down in the grass and continued firing on the responding officers, which at this point included four troopers and one sheriff’s deputy.

The officers returned fire with their standard issue service revolvers; one trooper is reported to have used a shotgun. Martin was struck several times. According to police, the gun battle lasted just a couple of minutes and more than 60 rounds were fired.

Martin was airlifted to Truman Medical Center. He was pronounced dead at 5:45 a.m Sunday. No others were injured during the chase and subsequent shooting.

The officers involved in the shooting have been placed on routine administrative leave pending completion of the investigation. The Missouri State Highway Patrol’s Division of Drug and Crime Control is investigating the shooting.

Authorities have reported that Martin had a criminal history. He had a drug conviction and was sentenced to seven years in prison in 2000. He served 120 days in prison before being allowed to serve his time on house arrest. He had served under house arrest since January of 2003.

He was wearing an electronic locating device at the time of the shootout.


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