Jeffrey A. Hilke and Scott E. Duncan

Jeffrey A. Hilke
Scott E. Duncan

After hearing screams at an April 21, 2021, private service in the chapel of an Eldon, Missouri, funeral home, funeral director Jeffrey A. Hilke, 47, of Jefferson City, responded. He saw a tall, large man, 55, brandishing a handgun. The man had entered his father’s service and attempted to force outside a woman, 51, who was also attending the service with her three children. Hilke ran to the assailant, pushed him against a wall, and grasped the weapon. Scott E. Duncan, a 51-year-old maintenance technician of Kansas City, Missouri, who was attending the service, also responded, running to the assailant, who outweighed him. He also grasped the gun. The three men struggled for control of the weapon, while others, including the woman, fled the building. The men fell to the floor, with Hilke at the bottom of the pile-up, gasping for air. The gun fired, and the bullet hit the floor. The gun’s magazine fell out of the gun, but the assailant reached for a fully loaded magazine in his pocket to reload. Duncan pushed the assailant’s arm to the ground and held it there to prevent him from reloading. Police responded and still the assailant wouldn’t release the gun. A responding officer stepped on the assailant’s hand and sprayed pepper spray at him, until he released the weapon. The assailant was taken into custody, convicted, and sentenced to 34 years in prison. Hilke suffered a broken sternum and bruised ribs from the incident. The woman, Duncan, and others in the room were not injured.