JOPLIN, Mo. – A woman who fought off an attempted robbery four months ago has identified the would-be thief as the same criminal who shot and killed two Joplin police officers and wounded a third earlier this month.
Kylie Turner, 34, of Carterville, had just completed a walk along the Frisco Trail on Nov. 29 and was about to get into her car near Zora Street and St. Louis Avenue when a man in a hooded sweatshirt crept up behind her and demanded her wallet.
The assailant had one hand stuck in his hoodie pocket as if to give Turner the impression he was armed, she told the Joplin Globe. Turner told the man she would have to get her wallet out of the front seat and reached inside the vehicle, but the thief was soon surprised that she’d reached for Mace instead.
Immediately sprayed in the face, the criminal began backing away in agony before accepting defeat and running away. Despite accidentally taking some spray to her own face, Turner was able to swiftly drive away and report the matter to police.
But aside from giving a broad description of him to investigators, there wasn’t much else she could do, as she had never seen or met the man before.
That is, until March 8 when crazed convict Anthony R. Felix, 40, went on a shooting spree that ultimately ended with two officers and Felix himself dead from gunshot wounds, and a third officer injured.
Turner immediately recognized Felix as her would-be mugger during the following media coverage, and phoned the police on March 10 to fill them in. Felix had already died by that time.
Officers responded on March 8 to a disturbance at the Northpark Shopping Center around 1:30 p.m. As the officers attempted to arrest Felix, who was identified as the source of the disturbance, he shot both of them and fled the scene in a stolen patrol car.
Felix fired multiple shots at the pursuing officers from the stolen police vehicle before wrecking it and fleeing on foot to the area of Ninth Street and Connecticut Avenue. From there, Felix fired additional shots and injured a third officer before being taken down.
The gunman fatally shot Cpl. Benjamin Cooper and Officer Jake Reed, and wounded Officer Rick Hershey during the altercation.
Felix had a lengthy history of arrests and convictions prior to these incidents. He was arrested and convicted of aggravated assault on an officer and resisting arrest in Maricopa, Arizona in 2019 and sentenced to 18 months in prison.
In a 2010 case Felix was charged with one count of Conspiracy to Commit Theft or Receipt of Stolen Mail Matter, before being charged for three additional counts in a separate case, both of which were felony cases.
Perhaps it will be of some comfort to a Joplin and law enforcement community grieving the loss of two officers to know that they helped stop a two-state, one-man crime wave – and that Kylie Turner was able to survive it.