Read & React: Kansas Farmer Kills Fugitive from Iowa
March 21, 2013
Joseph Lamasters made a really unfortunate series of bad decisions early this month.
First, while going through the south terminal of the Kansas turnpike, the 42-year-old Creston, Iowa, resident apparently didn't have enough money to pay the toll. So he left his ID, presumably with the intent to return later with the money. Kansas authorities ran his ID through their system, and found that Lamasters was wanted; there was a warrant out on him from Iowa for a probation violation stemming from drug charges. The warrant included a caution that Lamasters had been known to use or possess firearms in the past.
Secondly, a Kansas state trooper spotted Lamasters getting out of his car and running into a heavily wooded area. He was so short of money he apparently didn't have any to put gas in his car. The Kansas authorities searched for him for about three hours with no luck.
"Because it's such a rural area, we decided to go door to door to the farmhouses and let the farmers know in the area to keep an eye out for the individual," said Sumner County, Kan., Sheriff Darren Chambers.
Third, Lamasters apparently isn't used to dealing with farmers, who are used to being on their own and doing for themselves. Later that afternoon, a farmer called the Sumner County Sheriff's office to say that he had seen Lamasters and confronted him at gunpoint, but that Lamasters had run away. As the farmer did not feel threatened, he let Lamasters go.
As Lamasters ran away, however, the farmer realized he was running toward a relative's home, and the woman might be home. So the farmer grabbed a shotgun and his 17-year-old son and went to check out the house.
The relative wasn't home, but the farmer decided to check the outbuildings. He found Lamasters, who jumped out from behind a pile of feed sacks, told the farmer he was going to kill him and charged. The farmer fired, and as the police stated, Lamasters was "deceased right there."
The son witnessed the shooting and corroborated his father's story. While the Sheriff will be presenting the case to the district attorney, he does not expect the father to be arrested or charged.
"I hate to see him in this position, but he did what he felt like he had to do," said Chambers. "He wanted to protect his family."