BARNHART, MO (KTVI) – Two men, armed with hand guns, faced off on a grocery store parking lot in Barnhart Thursday morning. Witnesses told sheriff deputies a customer, who was intoxicated, threatened a store employee with a gun. The employee pulled out his concealed gun and shot the man several times.
48 year old Robert Lawson of Imperial was pronounced dead at the scene. Employees at Karsch's Village Market on Highway M in Barnhart had called for help. They said the intoxicated man was causing a disturbance.
Before Jefferson County deputies could arrive, employees escorted the man from the store while trying to convince him to give up the keys to his pickup truck.
"The victim, at some point in time during the conversation, produced a hand gun and pointed it at the store employee. The store employee drew his weapon and fired his weapon at least twice, maybe three times, striking the individual," said Jefferson County Sheriff Glenn Boyer.
The store employee, a 23-year old man also from Imperial had a legal permit to carry a concealed gun according to Sheriff Boyer.
Detectives spent five hours collecting evidence at the scene. The body, covered by a sheet, remained on the parking lot for more than four hours before the work was concluded and the body removed.
Sheriff Boyer said once the investigation is completed it will be presented to the Jefferson County Prosecutor. But he indicated it appears to be a case of self-defense. That determination will be made by the prosecutor's office.