ODESSA, Mo.– She was gone for a total of 16 minutes. Driving away from her house minutes earlier with her stepdaughter, she headed into town. When she returned back home, two unfamiliar men were in her driveway. One would not leave alive.
Julie Anderson asked the two men what they wanted.
They nervously responded they just needed gasoline and had been knocking on her door for thirty minutes with no answer and her house was the first house they came across and again, they just needed some gasoline and could she help?
Anderson said she knew she had only been away for 16 minutes and began to ask herself imperative questions. Who are these men? What are they doing here? Why would they knock on my door for so long if they just needed gas? Why are they lying?
She said the two men acted nervous, stumbled over each other’s words and continued to ask for gasoline.
Still in her vehicle, Anderson said instinct kicked in and she told the men to stand at the end of the driveway and she would bring them gasoline. In Anderson’s mind, she says this was her way of giving the men a way out.
The men complied. They went back to the end of the drive and stopped, watching Anderson the whole time as she made another phone call. Unknown to the men, that number was to the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department.
Pulling the gas tank from the back of her car, she drove back up the driveway towards the men, phone still to her ear, talking to dispatch. How long until someone arrives? How soon until I’m not alone?
Anderson said within less than 10 minutes, an officer showed up and approached the men, asking for identification.
Stumbling over their words, the men explained they were just there to get gas. That was the last time Anderson saw both of the men alive.
She went back into her house and waited. Unable to hear the conversation, she said the next thing she saw was yellow tape go up, ambulance arrive and a white sheet cover a lifeless body at the end of her driveway.
“I have dealt with death many times,” she said. “Technically, I am a hospice nurse, and I deal with death on a daily basis, in general, but not like this. It was very real to me after the fact, thinking, ‘I was just talking to this man,’ and then BAM… his actions gave him consequences, and he chose, he chose. But on the other hand, I am so grateful that that officer was able to do what he did and he got to go home last night.”
Pausing, Anderson exhaled and her voice trembled slightly.
“I cannot thank the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department or the Missouri State Highway Patrol enough for being in our community,” she said. “They’re always around.”
Since the incident, Anderson says her social media and phone have received multiple calls, texts and messages regarding the incident. One person commented that they didn’t know if they would have responded as quickly as she did, but this has made them aware.
Anderson says this is one of the main reasons she is speaking out: awareness.
“People leave doors open, or unlocked, or leave gates open and think ‘I’m just running to town, I’ll be right back.’ I want people to be aware of their surroundings. It can happen to anybody.”
Anderson said her instinct to act quickly didn’t happen by chance. It was something that had been instilled in her since she was a child and had been lying dormant until that moment.
She says the late Tom Wright, a Girl Scouts outdoor advisor, was responsible for implanting the importance of personal defense in her at a young age.
“To me, it wasn’t a matter of if I got approached; it was a matter of when it was going to happen. This needs to be taught to children as they’re young.”
Anderson says the community has been affected tremendously, shaken by the news of this happening in their backyards, as well as given a wake-up call.
“This affects the community because so many of us know people from other towns,” she said. “It did wake a lot of people up.”
Anderson says she hopes that although the situation was unfortunate, she hopes to use the platform she has been given to raise awareness to the importance of personal defense and quick thinking.
“I just thought to myself, ‘I’m not going to be their victim.’”
Authorities have identified the man who was fatally shot as Nicholas J. Ferro, 47, of Kansas City, Mo. The man arrested at the scene is Glen Eugene Williams, 48, also of Kansas City. Williams has been formally charged with one count of Felony driving while intoxicated, one count of Felony driving while revoked and one count of Felony possession of burglary tools. A bond has been set for Williams at $75,000. He is scheduled to appear in court this morning, June 15, 2016, at 10 a.m. for an initial arraignment in Lexington.