Friday, May 7, 2010
"WEST PLAINS, MO - Three people died after gunshots rang out at a home in Howell County on Thursday afternoon. It was in a rural area but several other homes were nearby. The Howell County Sheriff's Department and Missouri State Highway Patrol were at the crime scene on on Missouri 17 just north of West Plains. Three people died in the yard of a home, and investigators say it was a double murder and a suicide.
"Law enforcement rushed to the home about 4:30.
"`We had a call from a neighbor next door to where this incident occurred,` said Sgt. Marty Elmore, a spokesman the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Troop G based in Willow Springs.
"Christopher Ryan was inside his home when he heard the first gunshot.
"`So I came out here, and that's when I saw the guy shooting the woman,` said Ryan.
"Ryan was one of at least two neighbors who called 911 to report the shooting outside the home of his landlord, co-worker and friend, Jerry Willis.
"`When I came out here, I didn't see him. All I saw was the guy chasing Ann around. After all that was over, that's when I seen Jerry, because he put another one in him,` said Ryan.
"Jerry Willis, 69, and Elizabeth Ann Palangi, 43, both of West Plains, were both killed. Law enforcement officers say the shooter, Kerry Palangi, 45, then apparently turned the rifle on himself.
"The Palangis were separated, and friends say Willis was trying to help Mrs. Palangi and her children.
"`I think it was a case of, 'If I can't have you, nobody will,'` said Ryan."