Festus man arrested after threatening family with gun, police say

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FESTUS, MO (KPLR) - "We're thankful somebody wasn't shot." Those were the words of the Festus police chief in describing a series of assaults by a gun-wielding man Friday and Monday. Police say the man even threatened to shoot his own children.

Joseph Sherrer's Facebook page has plenty of pictures of him with his kids. But Monday, police say the kids he's snuggled up to in these photos are among the people he threatened with a loaded 9mm pistol.

According to police, Scherrer was in a rage against his estranged wife. Court papers accuse him of breaking into her home and raping her on Friday and then returning Monday with a gun. The victim, their children (ages one and three), and a family friend were terrified and called police after Scherrer forced his way inside. Scherrer was already gone by the time police arrived, but authorities said he wasn’t done.

Police Chief Tim Lewis said Scherrer came back around 10:30 p.m., forced his way into the home, and threatened to kill his estranged wife and their family, going so far as to display the pistol in the process. Again, by the time police arrived, Scherrer was gone.

This time, Festus police kept officers in the area in case Scherrer returned. Those concerns were realized about an hour later.

“This time (the family) had barricaded the doors to try and keep him out. He forced his way in. They called us. We arrested him at the scene and recovered a weapon,” Chief Lewis said.

The victim in the case did not want to comment, but said the two kids slept through the worst of it. Just the same, police said their presence makes the crime that much worse.

“They’re the innocent party. They’re gonna remember this. They’re gonna remember this before Christmas,” Lewis said. “This is what their vision is gonna be for a long time.”

At present, Scherrer remains in Jefferson County Jail on $500,000 cash bond.