Hannibal Courier - Post - Hannibal, MO
  • Witnesses say man vowed to 'shoot everyone' at Shelby courthouse

  •   Witnesses say an elderly man told them he would “get his gun” and “shoot everyone” at the Shelby County Courthouse.


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  • Witnesses say an elderly man told them he would “get his gun” and “shoot everyone” at the Shelby County Courthouse.
    Seventy-six-year-old Darrell L. Large of Hunnewell was charged Monday with the felonies of making a terrorist threat and resisting arrest.
    He also faces two misdemeanor counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and a misdemeanor count of willfully resisting a state trooper.
    A probable cause statement by Highway Patrol Trooper G.R. Fenton and accounts by witnesses offer a glimpse of what happened.
    Courthouse employees told Fenton that Large was “cursing, yelling, uncooperative, and refused to leave,” according to the report.
    “Large stated he was going to go down to his truck and get his gun,” Fenton wrote. “He then stated he would return and shoot everyone.”
    The incident started when Large visited the circuit clerk’s office on the second floor of the courthouse about 2:30 p.m. Thursday.
    Large told witnesses that he was the victim of an unspecified crime three years ago, and that he wanted a federal judge to review his case. Workers tried to assure Large that there were no federal judges based in Shelby County.
    “He was just mixed up, confused,” said Circuit Clerk Rosalie Shively. “We couldn’t reason with him at all. He just wanted to swear at us. He wouldn’t listen to what you had to say.”
    Authorities did not indicate if Large was intoxicated or taking prescription drugs. Despite their training in dealing with unruly people, courthouse employees could not calm Large.
    A member of the circuit clerk’s staff asked Prosecuting Attorney James McConnell to intervene. McConnell did not have much luck.
    “You couldn’t talk to him,” McConnell said. “It seemed like the more attention you gave to him, the more agitated he became.”
    In the probable cause statement, Fenton wrote that as he arrived, he saw Large walking outside the courthouse. Fenton said he and Shelby County Sheriff Dennis Perrigo walked over to Large and questioned him.
    “Large refused to answer the questions and refused to obey commands given by Sheriff Perrigo,” Fenton wrote.
    Fenton said that Perrigo went inside to investigate the disturbance, leaving Fenton and Deputy Dean Grubb to watch the suspect. Fenton said Large tried to get into a vehicle and was advised that he couldn’t leave until the complaint against him was reviewed.
    Fenton said that Large continued to try to get into the truck, even when he and Grubb tried to block the suspect’s path.
    “During this time Large extended both arms and hands reaching for Deputy Grubb’s firearm,” Fenton wrote. “I immediately pulled his arms away from the firearm.”
    “He was just out of control,” McConnell said. “He was looking for a fight, almost. He raised the threat by grabbing the gun. It was a little bit scary.”
    Page 2 of 2 - Large was handcuffed and put on the ground, but complained of what Fenton called “extreme pain.” So, the trooper took the cuffs off the suspect.
    “Large rolled onto his back and refused to sit up,” Fenton wrote. “Large made a fist with his right hand and struck me in my jaw.”
    Large was restrained again and taken to the county jail in the courthouse basement. He later was transferred to a facility in St. Louis for a mental evaluation.
    Shively said Large previously had caused problems in another courthouse office, but that the confrontation had not been as serious as Thursday’s incident.
    Court records show Large had filed 10 civil lawsuits seeking monetary damages from various parties since September 2005. Four were dismissed. In the last case, from July 2008 in Monroe County, Large was awarded $2,357.76.
    The records also show that Large had no criminal convictions. However, McConnell said the suspect may not have been formally charged after an earlier alleged assault on another law officer.
    The charge of making a terrorist threat is rare for Northeast Missouri, but has been used twice in Lincoln County.
    The first time was for a man who threatened to blow up a daycare center. He was later committed to a state facility.
    The second incident happened in August 2009, when an employee of Walmart in Troy was charged in connection with calling in a bomb threat to the store. A suspect, Donald E. Merrill of Moscow Mills, goes to trial Aug. 19.
    Because he is a witness to the Shelby County incident, McConnell has asked that a special prosecutor be appointed. A court date had not been set.
    The courthouse has an alarm system, but it was unclear if it was activated.

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