Three charges of murder…a charge of assault of a law enforcement officer…four counts of armed criminal action…and one count of possession of a controlled substance…the charges filed by Dent County Prosecutor James Gray against 53-year-old Earl Mitchell Forrest II, accused of killing two Dent County residents and a deputy. Gray charges Forrest shot and killed 51-year-old Harriett Smith of Salem and 41-year-old Michael Wells of Licking with a 22-caliber handgun. He further charges that Forrest shot and fatally wounded Dent County Deputy Joann Barnes and shot and wounded Sheriff Bob Wofford when the pair attempted to confront him as a suspect in the deaths of Smith and Wells. Barnes, 48, died at approximately 4am today at a St. Louis area hospital. Wofford was treated and released at a local hospital. Forrest was wounded in the gunfight and has been taken to University Hospital in Columbia for treatment, where he is listed in stable condition. A companion of Forrest, 21-year-old Angelina Gamblin of Salem, was also wounded and has been taken to a St. Louis area hospital for treatment. The State Highway Patrol reports Sheriff Wofford and Barnes went to Forrest’s house as part of the investigation into the deaths of Smith and Wells. The patrol says Forrest opened fire on the two as they approached the house. A stand off with law enforcement lasted for about 35 minutes before Forrest, who was wounded, came out of the house and surrendered. Initially taken to Salem Hospital, Forrest was later transferred to University Hospital. The patrol suspects the initial shootings were drug related. It says drugs were found in both the Smith and the Forrest houses.
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