Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Man accused of ax attack after Pitch reporter asks about homeless-camp killing

Posted by on Wed, Sep 19, 2012 at 6:18 PM

Michael Gullet is now charged with attacking a homeless man with an axe.
  • Michael Gullet is now charged with attacking a homeless man with an ax.
A dark update to one of our stories published this morning: Last week, The Pitch visited a homeless camp along the Missouri River near East Front Street and North Kansas Avenue where Joe Loehr was found dead on September 8.

A person of interest in Loehr's killing, 56-year-old Mike Gullett, was still living there. Two men were hanging out with him on Thursday and talked to The Pitch about the killing. The Pitch's story finished with 47-year-old Gregory Kump passing out drunk on the ground just feet from where Gullett told The Pitch that he thought Loehr might have died.

It turns out that the story didn't really end there.

That evening, a few hours after The Pitch left the camp, police say Gullett attacked a sleeping Kump with an ax.

When The Pitch had last seen Gullett and Kump, the two were getting along, and Gullett had helped Kump into a tent a little while after Kump had passed out drunk on the ground.

Yet, Kump had told The Pitch that he was afraid of going back to the camp while a killer was still on the loose. At one point, Gullett had also warned Kump not to talk about the killing for fear of getting tied up with the cops. But Kump talked anyway.

According to court documents, Kump and Gullett had continued drinking together that night, and Kump fell asleep again, this time in Gullett’s hut.

When Kump woke up — in the dry parlance of the cops who later took his statement — “he observed the suspect standing over him swinging an ax at his head.”

The report goes on: “The victim deflected the attack and struck the suspect [Gullett] in the face with a closed fist in self defense." (Earlier that day, Kump repeatedly told The Pitch that he knew how to defend himself.) "The suspect fell backwards and the victim kicked him in the head before fleeing the scene.”

Kump lost some skin on his forearms in the attack, which he reported at a nearby bar. When the cops showed up, they found Gullett in his hut, bloodied and in bed, according to court documents. They also found an ax in a nearby shed.

Jackson County prosecutors have charged Gullett with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.

In regard to the homicide, Gullett told The Pitch that he couldn’­t remember where he found Loehr’s body because he was too drunk. Now, in regard to the attack on Kump, Gullett told detectives that “he could not remember what happened and how he received the injuries to his face.”

The police statement continues: “Gullet [sic] was asked if he remembered swinging the ax at the victim’s head. Gullett stated he could not remember the attempted assault and stated if he did that, he was sorry and deserved what he got.”

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