A lawyer from Kansas City, Missouri, who was shot and killed in front of his home may have been murdered in retaliation for a case he worked on.
Tom Pickert, 39, was shot on the front porch of his home on the morning of Oct. 25, WDAF reported. He had just returned home from walking his two children to school.
Pete Corpeny, a neighbor of Pickert's, said he and his son heard screaming at the time of the incident.
"He heard shots, he heard several shots he said but then he heard the scream too, it was a woman, and here I thought it was kids screaming," Corpeny told WDAF.
The screams came from Pickert's wife, who was home at the time of the shooting. She screamed after finding her husband dead on the front porch.
Police said the shooting wasn't random. Witnesses reported seeing a white 1997 Chevrolet van speed away from the scene. That vehicle was later found abandoned.
The abandoned vehicle was registered to David Jungerman. He was a defendant in a case Pickert was recently involved in.
Jungerman was sued in civil court by a homeless man, whom Pickert was representing. According to Ryan Fowler, another attorney involved in the case, Jungerman shot the homeless man in the back of his leg. The homeless man then needed to have part of his leg amputated.
"He was looking for a place to bed down that night," Fowler said of the incident, which happened in a warehouse owned by Jungerman's business, according to KCTV. "Mr. Jungerman said, yeah, I shot him. I shot him intentionally. But I shot him because he was inside my warehouse charging at me, so I was acting in self-defense."
Pickert helped win the case for the homeless man, and Jungerman was ordered to pay $5.75 million in damages. Court officials seized his home and Kansas City business as a garnishment to pay the judgment.
Police said they had spoken to Jungerman and do not currently consider him a suspect, reports KCTV.
Pickert's wife is a doctor for the University of Kansas Health System.
"We learned earlier today that the husband of a physician at The University of Kansas Health System was killed as the result of a violent crime," hospital spokeswoman Jill Chadwick said in a statement, according to the Daily Mail. "We are a family at The University of Kansas Health System, and we are stunned and saddened."
The statement continued: "Right now our thoughts are with this doctor, her family, and all those close to her. We offer our support for our co-worker and her family today and in the days and weeks ahead."