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Torry Upchurch

A 27-year-old Jefferson City man has been charged with murder in connection with the shooting deaths of two people on Thanksgiving night in the Capital City.

Cole County Prosecutor Locke Thompson charged Torry Upchurch with two counts of first-degree murder, two counts of armed criminal action, two counts of unlawful use of a firearm and two counts of unlawful possession of a firearm Friday morning.

Reports from the Jefferson City Police Department show the first shooting occurred at approximately 6 p.m. in the 1300 block of West McCarty Street.

Officers found Earle Key Jr., 17, of Jefferson City, suffering from a gunshot wound inside the home, and emergency medical personnel determined he was dead.

Upchurch reportedly knocked on the front door of the apartment where Key was staying, according to a Jefferson City Police Department probable cause statement. When Key, whom Upchurch was said to have known, opened the door, Upchurch allegedly shot him in the face with a 9mm handgun, killing him instantly.

Witnesses reported seeing a man, believed to be Upchurch, dressed in dark clothing running from the scene and behind residences in the area. Officers conducted a search of the area but were unable to locate Upchurch.

The second incident occurred at approximately 8:44 p.m., when the Jefferson City Communications Center began receiving multiple calls for shots fired in the 2300 block of Southridge Drive.

Officers found Shantae Hill-Cook, 33, of Columbia, lying in the street suffering from multiple gunshot wounds, and emergency medical personnel determined she was dead as a result of those injuries.

A witness told officers that Hill-Cook and Upchurch had been in a romantic relationship for the past few months, according to a JCPD probable cause statement.

The witness also said Upchurch had been upset with Hill-Cook for wanting to assist the witness with her belongings and child. It was then, according to the witness, that Upchurch told Hill-Cook multiple times to "stay in the car" before he eventually pulled out a handgun and fired, striking Hill-Cook numerous times.

Upchurch reportedly fled the area in Hill-Cook's car prior to officers' arrival. He eventually drove to the Jefferson City Police Department on Monroe Street, dressed in black clothing and covered in blood. He allegedly entered the lobby of the police headquarters and told people in the lobby, "I know I committed two murders."

Officers arrested Upchurch and, during his initial interview, he reportedly implicated himself in both homicides, specifically saying he had shot Hill-Cook in the temple.

This article was updated at 11:30 a.m. Nov. 29, 2019, with additional details.

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