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Police Pursue Motive in Weekend Gun Battle At Missouri Home

October 14, 1986

LEBANON, Mo. (AP) _ A man killed in a gunbattle may have been trying to kidnap his childhood friend when he donned a heavy disguise and broke into the friend’s home, authorities said Tuesday.

Eleven shots were fired when Milton Young, 36, and his family found the disguised Frederick Ross Jr., 44, in their home late Saturday night, said Laclede County Sheriff Lawrence Rifenburg.

Ross was killed. Young was in fair condition at a Springfield hospital.

From his hospital bed, Young told authorities Tuesday that he did not recognize Ross, who was wearing a long, black wig, artificial sideburns and moustache, and had an earring glued to one ear.

Ross, who knew Young from childhood days, fired three shots from a .45- caliber revolver and also fired one round of birdshot from a .22-caliber pistol, Rifenburg said.

During the gunfight, Young fired six shots and his 14-year-old son fired once at Ross, a truck driver who was in Lebanon visiting relatives, the sheriff said. No charges are pending against the Youngs, he said.

″They were just defending themselves,″ Rifenburg said. ″We’re still trying to come up with a motive. We thought it was robbery, but now we think he was going to take him (the elder Young) with him, but for what reason we don’t know.″

Young, who owns a skating rink, offered Ross the night receipts from his business and a car, Rifenburg said. ″The receipts were about $300, but he (Ross) just laughed at them,″ the sheriff said.

Rifenburg said Young, his wife, Mary, and two teen-age children returned from the skating rink to their home about 11 p.m.

Ross grabbed one of Young’s sons and ordered other family members to lie on the floor, Rifenburg said. Ross then ordered Young’s wife to handcuff Young. As she knelt in front of her husband, obscuring the intruder’s view, Young pulled a .38-caliber revolver, Rifenburg said.

When the shooting began, the 14-year-old ran into a bedroom and got a 12- gauge shotgun and shot Ross once in the head, Rifenburg said.

Young had a permit to carry a revolver because he often had large sums of money from the business with him, said Deputy Sheriff Ken Stidham.

Rifenburg said authorities were awaiting autopsy results to determine which shot killed Ross.

Ross was not carrying any identification and was not identified until his brother, who lives in Lebanon, filed a missing person report Monday.

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