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2 Mo. officers shot during ambush, suspect later killed

Both officers are expected to be okay, the suspect was found during a manhunt hours later and was shot dead

By Kim Bell
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

CEDAR HILL, Mo. — A six-hour manhunt for the gunman who allegedly shot and wounded two deputies early Friday has ended after he jumped out a window of a nearby home and was shot dead by police, authorities say.

The suspect is identified as Shawn Keith Nims, 40, of Cedar Hill.

Shawn Keith Nims, 40, of Cedar Hill (left), Deputy Nina Osia (above) and Deputy Michael Toombs (below).
Shawn Keith Nims, 40, of Cedar Hill (left), Deputy Nina Osia (above) and Deputy Michael Toombs (below).

The manhunt ended at 8:20 a.m. Friday in the 7300 block of Cedar Drive, where police saw an open sliding door and went inside with a search dog team. Police spotted Nims, he dived out a front window and officers in the front yard yelled for him to put down his weapon, Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer said.

"He had the assault-style weapon in his hands, and he refused to put the gun down," Boyer said. "The officers did exactly what they had to do."

Nims died at the scene.

Cedar Drive is about a half-mile far from a home in the 7400 block of Twin Ridge Drive where police say Nims shot two deputies at about 2 a.m. Friday.

One of the deputies was hit in the left calf and suffered a broken leg from the gunshot; the other deputy was hit in the left shoulder. Both were treated at a hospital and released. "They are stable and in good spirits," Boyer said.

After being shot, the injured deputies fired shots at Nims but couldn't be sure if he had been hit. There was a blood trail at the scene, "but we don't know if some of the blood was his or the officers'," Boyer said.

Police allege that Nims ran from the home after shooting the deputies. He carried what Boyer described as a military-style rifle similar to an AK-47. Police from three counties showed up to search near Highway B and Highway 30 in an unincorporated area of northwest Jefferson County.

Nims served prison time for meth possession, and police had a warrant for his arrest in an unrelated crime. A deputy had gone to the home on Twin Ridge Drive, in an area known as Cedar Hill Lakes, at about 11 p.m. Thursday -- not to arrest him on the warrant, but because police had gotten a 911 hangup call.

Deputy Nina Osia talked to residents inside the home, and they told her it was an accident. But she was suspicious, Boyer said.

"They acted kinda hinky," Boyer said.

The deputy knew that police had a warrant for Nims, who lived there. Boyer didn't have details on that warrant. Osia noticed that a back bedroom window was open "like someone had crawled out," the sheriff said.

Boyer said it's not uncommon for someone wanted by police in Jefferson County to flee into the woods, and come back out later once he or she gets hungry. So the deputy decided to leave and come back later.

Deputy Osia returned about 2 a.m. with another deputy, Michael Toombs. The people at the home allowed the deputies to come inside and look around. They told the deputies that Nims wasn't there.

"They started to go downstairs and were told nobody was downstairs," Boyer said. The female deputy went down first, and someone downstairs started firing. Boyer calls it an ambush.

"They ended up in a gun battle in the basement," Boyer said.

Osia was shot in the left calf and ankle, Boyer said. Toombs was shot in the left shoulder. Osia is 22. Toombs is 43.

After shooting Osia and Toombs, Nims ran up the stairs and out of the home, Boyer said. Police found a shotgun on a bed, and the deputies saw him run away with a rifle.

Officers helping in the search were from Franklin County, St. Louis County and Jefferson County. Authorities warned residents not to approach Nims if they saw him but to call 911.

Nims had served time in prison. In 2005, he was sentenced to three years in a Missouri prison for drug possession. Court records say the drug was methamphetamines. He was facing a Lincoln County charge for tampering with a motor vehicle in January. He has a previous conviction for stealing in St. Louis County.

His Facebook page shows photos of Nims holding a baby girl and later digging in the sand with a young child, but his page also includes more menacing pictures such as Nazi symbols and his cover photo depicting the Last Supper where the devil is eating a human.

Copyright 2013 St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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