Springfield Police at the scene of an incident. (Photo by Shannon Cay)

Springfield police believe they know who shot and killed an 18-year-old man and wounded a woman while the two were in an SUV on the evening of April 17. And the search continues for a suspect several weeks after the fatal shooting.

Xavier N. Moore, shown in 2021 booking photo

Xavier N. Moore, 21, of Springfield, is believed to have fled Missouri, according to an April 25 warrant for his arrest on suspicion of six felony offenses, including first-degree murder in the shooting death of Lavelle C. Rose III. According to the probable cause affidavit, the shooting was a targeted hit aided by the driver of a pickup who told police he didn’t know he was about to be involved in a shooting.

Rose was pronounced dead near the intersection of West Calhoun Street and North Forest Avenue after officers were dispatched to west Springfield following a 6:51 p.m. report of shots fired April 17. Rose was in the passenger seat of an SUV when he was reportedly shot in the head by a man wearing a face-covering balaclava. The shooter allegedly walked up to the passenger side window and began firing, according to the driver of the SUV. 

Victims shot at close range after truck blocked their way

The driver was shot multiple times on the right side of her body, the affidavit states. After being treated for her wounds at a Springfield hospital, she told police she and Rose were going to the store that evening. The woman told police their path onto Calhoun was blocked by a white extended cab pickup. When she tried to drive around the truck, the woman told police, it backed up to further block their path.

Another witness reportedly told police he noticed the truck idling for about 5 minutes in the neighborhood, and he told police he heard about 10 gunshots and went to the front door of his house to see what had happened. He told police he saw the truck’s passenger door close as it sped away eastbound on Calhoun. 

When police arrived, they found several 9mm shell casings outside the passenger door of the victims’ SUV. While the truck was gone by the time police arrived, neighborhood witnesses and doorbell security cameras helped police determine that the truck was a white, lifted Chevrolet extended cab pickup with chrome wheels and trim. 

Vehicle surveillance system aids police in identifying suspects in fatal shooting

According to the affidavit, police used a relatively new surveillance system to identify the pickup. A detective searched the Springfield Police Department’s Flock Camera System, which scans license plates on vehicles passing by a number of locations throughout Springfield. The system stores images and data about the vehicles for 30 days, according to a KY3 story about the system. The search for a white Chevy truck found a vehicle matching the description had passed eastbound on Kearney Street near the North Glenstone Avenue intersection at 5:11 p.m. the day of the shooting. Another image of the truck was captured at the Division and Sherman intersection, about 2.5 miles away from the shooting scene, minutes after police were called to a report of gunshots. 

The surveillance images showed the truck had dealership plates, according to the affidavit. Police were able to determine the dealer was a used car lot in Eldon. Investigators spoke with the dealer that night and determined it was a 2010 Chevy Silverado sold to a St. Louis resident. The name of the buyer is not listed in the affidavit for Moore’s arrest, but Justin L. Bartels, 21, of St. Louis, has been arrested and charged in Greene County Circuit Court with second-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action and one count of first-degree assault, according to court records. 

Suspect reportedly fled St. Louis

According to the affidavit for Moore’s arrest, Springfield officers contacted St. Louis County sheriffs and determined the Silverado was parked outside the alleged driver’s residence five hours after the shooting. Deputies there kept surveillance on the apartment and truck, and Springfield investigators headed to St. Louis the next day. A search warrant was obtained for the apartment, where police found a 9mm gun box, a 9mm handgun and two empty magazines. 

No one was home at the time of the search, according to the affidavit. A neighbor in St. Louis told investigators the resident had loaded several trash bags in a red Chevrolet Camaro and left at about 10 p.m. on the night of the shooting. Police were able to determine the Camaro was registered to the alleged driver of the pickup involved in the fatal shooting.

When police ran the Camaro’s license plates through the Flock system, it was determined that the car was in Springfield the morning after the shooting. At about 6 a.m. on April 18, less than 12 hours after the shooting report, it passed by the Glenstone and Kearney intersection. About seven hours later, police spotted the Camaro and pulled over the driver near the Booneville Avenue and Chestnut Expressway intersection.

Only one person was in the vehicle. Bartels was arrested that day. 

Alleged accomplice told police he thought he was only aiding assault

According to the affidavit for Moore’s arrest, the alleged driver of the truck on April 25 told police he dropped Moore off near the victim’s address on the day of the shooting. Moore had told him he wanted to “beat up” Rose, according to the affidavit. The alleged driver told police he had expected to wait in the truck and pick up Moore after an assault. Instead, police believe Moore shot Rose at close range, killing him, and injured the woman driving before speeding away with Bartels.

On Feb. 7, Bartles was charged with one count of unlawful use of a weapon and another count of fourth-degree assault. KY3 reports Bartels was out of jail on bond in connection with an unlawful use of a weapon charge at the time of Rose’s death.

Police continue to search for Moore. According to the affidavit, Moore was on probation for a robbery conviction. He is now charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault, unlawful discharge of a firearm and three counts of armed criminal action.

Moore was described by a witness and the surviving victim as a slender Black male, about 5-foot-10. He was wearing white jeans, a black hoodie and a black mask at the time of Rose’s death. Police believe Moore fled the state with his girlfriend, according to the affidavit for his arrest.

Cory Matteson

Cory Matteson moved to Springfield in 2022 to join the team of Daily Citizen journalists and staff eager to launch a local news nonprofit. He returned to the Show-Me State nearly two decades after graduating from the University of Missouri-Columbia. Prior to arriving in Springfield, he worked as a reporter at the Lincoln Journal Star and Casper Star-Tribune. More by Cory Matteson