Darryl Eye

After avoiding capture for almost a month and leaving a trail of crimes, a Texas County man was killed in a shootout Sunday with a Missouri State Highway Patrol trooper in Pulaski County. 

The Missouri State Highway Patrol said Darryl L. Eye, 49, a drifter with no permanent address who was most often associated with Licking, was killed.

Sgt. Dan Crain, a spokesman for the patrol’s Troop I in Rolla, said Eye was fatally shot after pulling a gun on a trooper.

The fugitive, who was wanted by the patrol for tampering and resisting arrest, had been the focal point of multiple cases in Texas County during November, including several involving firearms and stolen vehicles, said Texas County Sheriff Carl Watson. His final encounter with law enforcement followed a Saturday incident involving a high-speed chase with a trooper on Highway 32 in Texas County. He escaped by ramming the stolen pickup he was driving into the trooper’s car and disabling it, and then speeding away into Dent County.

Crain said that the patrol got a tip Sunday that Eye was hiding out on Randolph Road near the 151-mile marker of I-44 near Richland. This time, the fugitive didn’t get away.

When approached by several troopers, Crain reported that Eye responded by speeding toward them in the stolen truck. Troopers exchanged fire with their patrol-issued rifles at Eye, who drove away. Troopers pursued, and Eye’s truck traveled off the road and stopped.

Crain said a trooper approached Eye again and observed him brandishing a firearm. The trooper then fired the fatal shot.

Eye had a criminal history of mostly minor traffic infractions and drug possession, but was wanted in Laclede County on felony property damages.

Lawmen seek Eye: The Texas County Sheriff’s Department received information last Wednesday that Eye was at a camper trailer on Paddy Creek Road in the Roby area. A law enforcement posse including officers from Texas County, the MSHP and the U.S. Forest Service responded to the residence in an attempt to arrest Eye on the Laclede County warrant.

But when the officers arrived, Eye burst out of the camper trailer and ran in the direction of a deputy covering the rear of the residence. He ignored orders to halt and fled into the adjacent woods.

While being pursued by a deputy and a state trooper, Eye reportedly threw to the ground a .22-caliber pistol and a cloth pouch containing several shells.

Consent to search the camper was given by its 59-year-old male owner, and a .12-gauge shotgun was seized after being found hidden under a mattress.

A computer check on the pistol showed that it was stolen in Laclede County.

Eye was reportedly at the camper in the company of a 38-year-old woman.

Watson said that with Eye’s erratic behavior, it was a blessing that nobody else was hurt.

“The state patrol may have lost a car, but those are replaceable,” Watson said. “What a deal; seeing a lot of these things over the years, if you can come out without an officer being hurt or a citizen being a victim, you’re fortunate.

“You hate that there was a life lost, but sometimes you have to do what has to be done.”

Watson said he had actually spoken to Eye in the past, when Eye called the TCSD to complain about a case in which a suspect had been shot.

“He was basically raising Cain, and said, ‘I guess I’ll be next,’ ” Watson said.

By leaving keys inside their vehicles, Watson said owners of the cars and trucks stolen by Eye during his crime spree may have indirectly helped him.

“That’s just a lesson for everyone right there,” he said. “Houston Police Chief Jim McNiell was quoted in the paper just last week about how this is what can happen, even out in the country at a convenience store, out in places like Roby, Success or Raymondville.

“People sometimes need to be more careful.”

A formal investigation into the shooting is under way. The trooper who fired the shots is on administrative leave.

“I’m just so proud that we got this done without a deputy getting hurt or anyone getting injured at any of the places he stole vehicles from,” Watson said. “This could have been a whole lot worse. I’m just glad that one’s over.”


Nov. 4: A pickup truck isstolen from a parking lot in Roby. Later that night, the truck wasseen headed west on Highway 32. A Troop I vehicle engaged apursuit, and the truck wrecked in a creek. The driver fled on foot,dropping a handgun as he escape` d.

Nov. 11: A residence burns inRoby, and a car is stolen from the scene. A deputy speaks to therenter, who fails to mention Eye as a suspect.

Nov. 16: Shots are fired at ashop building in Roby. The occupants were the male renter from thehouse fire, Eye’s ex-girlfriend and a third female. The victimsstate that the vehicle driving away from the scene resembles therenter’s stolen car. This marks the first incident when Eye’s nameis mentioned to the sheriff’s department.

Nov. 17: Eye is tracked downat a Paddy Creek Road residence, and officers from multipleagencies arrive in an attempt to apprehend him. But Eye once againevades his would-be captors, running into adjacent forest, againtossing a gun away. A shotgun and the stolen car from Roby arerecovered at the scene.

Late the same night, a truck is stolen fromthe Mason Bridge area.

Nov. 18: A friend reports tothe TCSD that Eye was at his back door at daylight, and he ran himoff. An hour later, the friend calls again to report that the truckhas been located stuck near his house. It is recovered.

During the afternoon of the same day, a car isstolen from a parking lot at Roby.

Nov. 19: The stolen car isfound at a convenience store in Lebanon. A truck from Lebanon isreported stolen near the same store.

Later the same day, a state trooper sees thestolen truck east of Licking and pursues. Eye escapes again, thistime by ramming the trooper’s car more than once with the stolentruck.

Nov. 20: After reportedlytrying to run down a couple of troopers, Eye is shot and killednear Richland. 

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