By Paul Thompson
Just after 5:00 a.m. on the morning of Sunday, October 15, a woman approached a front porch on the 1100 block of Ewing and fired shots upon two men, one of whom was once her neighbor. The former neighbor survived the attack, though the other man, his brother, ultimately died as a result of his wounds.
On Wednesday, October 18, the Jackson County Prosecutor’s Office released a probable cause statement with additional details about the incident. Stephanie Sandstrom, 30, was arrested at about 2:00 p.m. on Tuesday, October 17, and has been charged with Murder, Aggravated Assault, and Felon in Possession of a firearm in relation to the shooting.
The living victim’s wife told police that Sandstrom had once been a next-door neighbor, but that she’d been removed from the home after police were “continuously” called to the residence. The wife went on to tell officers that Sandstrom blamed the couple for her removal from the residence, and had begun harassing them ever since. According to the wife, Sandstrom had driven by the residence sometime in the past two months to issue the following verbal warning: “You need to get out of here quick cause it is going to be bad for you.”
As a result of the threat, the wife told authorities that she had purchased a .25 caliber handgun for protection.
When first called to the scene of the crime, KCPD officers encountered the deceased male (the intended target’s brother) inside the residence. Later, police discovered that the second victim (the homeowner) had been transported by his wife to a nearby fire station after the shooting. From there, an ambulance brought the man to an area hospital to receive treatment for several gunshot wounds.
The wife told authorities that she was in her bedroom when she heard her husband and brother-in-law run inside, yelling that they were being shot at. She grabbed the handgun and raced to the front door, but didn’t see anybody. She went back inside to tend to her husband, who suspected he was dying and pinpointed Sandstrom as the shooter.
A second witness, who had been living with the victims, told officers that he had been sleeping at the time of the shooting. Hearing the commotion and seeing the blood, he assisted the wife in loading her husband into a vehicle to bring him to a hospital. The second witness also passed along the living victim’s assertion that “Stephanie” was the one who shot him.
Authorities found apparent blood throughout the first floor of the house. In addition, officers found a Colt 25 caliber handgun on the floor near the front door of the enclosed porch. The gun contained one bullet in the chamber and another live bullet in the magazine.
The morning after the shooting, authorities went to Truman Medical Center to make contact with the living victim. Though his injuries prevented him from speaking, the man was able to write answers to questions. Presented with a group of photos, the victim positively identify Sandstrom as the attacker. The victim added that he and his brother had been out on the front porch when Sandstrom approached them on foot and began firing.
Video surveillance footage from a neighbor showed an individual with a hooded jacket approach the home near the time of the shooting. After 20 minutes or so, the footage catches what appears to be the same individual leaving the premises. The person dropped something on the ground, and when they turned around to pick it up, the surveillance camera captured a what appeared to be a woman’s face.
Upon Sandstrom’s arrest, she initially claimed that she had been taken hostage by two men with a gun. She further claimed that she had managed to take the gun away from them and escape.
On her person, authorities found a .22 caliber revolver with a spent shell casing and eight live bullets in the cylinder. Additionally, officers found dozens more bullets in a white shoulder bag.
According to the probable cause statement, Sandstrom threatened a civilian detention officer on duty when she was brought to East Patrol for booking, stating that she was “going to catch her slipping on the street and shoot her in the head.”
A search of Sandstrom’s criminal history revealed that she was a two-time felon: for tampering with a motor vehicle in 2006, and forgery in 2010. Prosecutors have requested a $250,000 bond in this case.