Tom Pickert, a trial lawyer with the firm Fowler Pickert Eisenmenger LLC in Kansas City, was shot Wednesday morning while sitting on his front porch Wednesday morning in the pleasant middle class Brookside neighborhood south of the Country Club Plaza. He had just returned from walking his two sons to school.
Kansas City Police Department detectives said almost immediately that the shooting did not appear to be random, and they seem to be right. According to KMBC 9 News, the reported owner of the vehicle spotted at the scene belongs to one David Jungerman. Trial lawyer Pickert and colleague Ryan Fowler successfully litigated a recent civil case that resulted in a $5.75 million judgment against Jungerman.
Jungerman, 79, is the owner of the Baby-Tenda Corporation, an 80-year-old firm which makes high chairs for babies. He claimed to have discovered two men in the act of stealing copper from one of his buildings. “The fact is they were inside my building in the process of committing a felony and they charged at me and put me in fear for my life,” said Jungerman. “I had no choice but to shoot them.” Jungerman used an AK-47.
Both men survived, but one, Jeffrey Harris lost his leg. Police investigated the shooting but did not charge Jungerman. Nor did they charge either of the alleged thieves. Eventually, Harris sued Jungerman. Jungerman refused to settle. “I don’t settle. I’m either right, or I’m wrong,” he told KMBC in January. “Me and Mr. Harris and Mr. Wallace were the only ones who were there. The jury’s job is going to be deciding who they’re going to believe.”
The Jackson County jury apparently believed Harris. In July, all twelve jurors agreed to assess Jungerman with $750,000 in compensatory damages and 11 of the 12 agreed on $5 million in punitive damages.
Still unknown is whether Jungerman was driving the vehicle spotted at the scene or whether he was the one who shot Pickert, the lawyer he may have judged responsible for his undoing. More news as it develops.