Columbia’s police chief has announced the death of longtime Boone County prosecutor Dan Knight at his home on Memorial Court, near South Providence.
Police Chief Geoff Jones briefed reporters near the home early Saturday afternoon. He says CPD officers and other first responders were dispatched to the home at about 9:35 this morning, to an apparent gunshot death.
“At this time it does not appear to be any foul play. We’ll be able to confirm more later,” Jones tells reporters.
Chief Jones says CPD’s Criminal Investigations Division, including crime scene investigators, will thoroughly investigate the death, with assistance from the Boone County Medical Examiner’s office.
While he’s not releasing details, Jones says officers were called to the home for an apparent death, through dispatch.
Jones described Knight as a dedicated professional, saying his department grieves with his family and his colleagues. Chief Jones says everyone is in shock.
“It’s sad. He was very dedicated to his position and his work, even before he was the elected prosecutor. So … he has a lot of people who worked alongside of him and we’re no exception to that”
Chief Jones emphasizes Mr. Knight’s work ethic, saying he was very involved in his work. He specifically cites Joseph Elledge’s November Columbia murder trial, which took two weeks and involved more than two years of investigations.
Dan Knight was born and raised in Columbia, graduating from Hickman high school in 1985 and from Mizzou for his business and law degrees. He was first elected Boone County Prosecutor in 2006 and was finishing his fourth term.
Knight announced in late February that he would not seek re-election in November, but confirmed to 939 the Eagle that day that he was strongly considering running for Boone County Circuit Judge in 2024. He spoke to KRCG’s Mark Slavit and 939 the Eagle’s Brian Hauswirth that afternoon for 25 minutes about his successes and disappointments.
He expressed frustration that day with his office’s workload, saying that he had recently requested three additional prosecutors from Boone County Commissioners and that he didn’t receive any new ones.
“I wish that I could pay more money to the hard-working people in my office, and there are plenty of them,” Knight said that day.
He said that Boone County was one of the few Missouri counties with more public defenders than prosecutors, and that prosecutors in his office each handled 450 to 500 cases.
During that February 28 interview in his Boone County Courthouse office, Knight also said that he was hopeful that Boone County residents would continue to support our law enforcement officers, saying they risk their personal safety and sometimes their lives to keep everyone safe.
“In this county, we have wonderful law enforcement officers. And, that’s the thing. I think that we need to, as the prosecutor, it’s important for me to point that out,” Knight said that day.
Prosecutor Knight prosecuted at least 21 murder cases over the years, with Elledge’s case receiving national attention. Knight also prosecuted the Bobby Harrison 2000 case behind Big Papa’s in downtown Columbia. He also prosecuted Horace Johnson for the horrific beating death of his two-year-old son, Cortez.