UPDATE 3: NEOSHO, Mo. — The Newton County Prosecuting Attorney Monday afternoon released a statement regarding the weekend incident south of Seneca where an officer’s vehicle was scattered by gunfire during a pursuit.

Three men have been charged in the Circuit Court of Newton County, Missouri, with assault in the 1st degree with a special victim, armed criminal action, and unlawful use of a weapon after a pursuit in Seneca, Missouri left a patrol vehicle riddled with bullet holes. Bradley Ray Holmes, Jr., 24, of Miami, Oklahoma; Kenneth Cecil Nelmus (sic), 59, of Picher, Oklahoma; and Tony Lucian Helms, 53, of Baxter Springs, Kansas, were all charged on three count complaints and are currently being held without bond on warrants issued by Judge Christine Rhoades of the 40th Judicial Circuit.

According to an affidavit in support of the complaint, a Seneca Police Officer was attempting to make a traffic stop of the vehicle carrying the defendants when he observed a back window open and a flash come from the vehicle, followed by bullets hitting the officer’s patrol vehicle. The vehicle proceeded through a fence and into a field where the occupants were able to evade pursuit.

The vehicle was later located, in which officers found numerous weapons, spent bullet casings, and bullet holes in the tailgate of the vehicle. All three suspect were later apprehended.


UPDATE 2: SENECA, Mo. — Chief James Altic of the Seneca Police Department updates information regarding one of their officers being fired upon during a pursuit.

They were seeking three subjects during a late night manhunt. The three fled a routine traffic stop at Washington and Cherokee in Seneca. Traveling south in a maroon Ford Ranger, during the pursuit, crossing south of US-60 roundabout on MO-43 the Seneca patrol cruiser took on gunfire.

The pickup truck crashed out SE of Redbud Rd & RYA Ln. The three then fled on foot shortly before 9:00 PM Saturday beginning a manhunt that lasted 1/2 the day Sunday.

All involved are in custody and all are positively identified.

Tony Lucian Helms, 53, Baxter Springs, Kansas
No bond hold in Newton Co. jail. Photo not available.
Charged with:
* Felony Unlawful use of a Weapon
* Felony First Degree Assault
* Felony Armed Criminal Action

Bradley Ray Holmes Jr., 24, Miami, Oklahoma
No bond hold and currently hospitalized. Photo not available.
Charged with:
* Felony Unlawful use of a Weapon
* Felony First Degree Assault
* Felony Armed Criminal Action

Kenneth Cecil Nelums, 59, Picher, Oklahoma
No bond hold in Newton Co. jail.
Charged with:
* Felony Unlawful use of a Weapon
* Felony First Degree Assault
* Felony Armed Criminal Action

UPDATE 1: Seneca Police Chief James Altic tells us Sunday morning, “Two of the three are in custody. We have footage of the third suspect.” They believe this third suspect was the passenger in the pickup.

“Around 2:30 AM neighbors, about 1/2 mile north of the pickup, reported hearing someone yelling for help. We located the young man who was injured.” The suspect was transported to Freeman in Joplin.

Sunday morning after 8:00 AM reports of a man matching the drivers description was reported near Quince Road in the same general area. Chief Altic said the suspect was positively identified by law enforcement and taken into custody. After a long night in the woods he was nearly ate up with, “ticks and chiggers.”

The search continues for the third person in the pickup. Names and charges of those in custody are not being released at this time.

ORIGINAL NEWTON COUNTY, Mo. — Just before 8:30 PM Saturday evening a Seneca Police Officer attempted to perform a traffic stop, at Washington and Cherokee Ave, on a pickup for traffic infractions. The maroon Ford Ranger fled south initiating a pursuit.

Seneca Police Chief James Altic tells us one of their patrol vehicles took on gunfire during the pursuit.

There were possibly three occupants in the pickup. The pursuit continued south to the US-60 and MO-43 roundabout. Just south of the roundabout someone in the pickup fired a weapon, striking the Seneca patrol vehicle numerous times.


The pickup was located, abandoned, in the woods SE of MO-43 near RYA Ln and Redbud. Officers built a perimeter and no one was located. Around 10:30 PM the perimeter was broke and the active search ended. The maroon Ford Ranger was then towed.

Chief Altic tells us they are taking a look at security video. We hope to have images coming up. Additionally no one was injured in the gunfire, no bullets penetrated the vehicle.

If you have any information you are encouraged to call the Newton County Sheriff’s Office or Seneca Police Department. If you see something or suspicious call 911. Subjects could be armed.

Watch for updates at FSHP on our Joplin News First Tab and follow our social media (scroll below). More information as it is released by the Seneca Police Department.