In the mid-1980s the work of a Missouri State Highway Patrolman could be fairly routine. That’s what trooper Allen Hines and Jimmie Linegar thought the afternoon of April 15, 1985, would be.
Now retired from the patrol, Hines remembers how that day started with beautiful weather, a typical afternoon getting some lunch, then deciding to run a spot check with Trooper Linegar.
“I had worked a wreck. I think he had been out working traffic. We met for lunch and talked it over and decided we were going to have a spot check,” said Hines.
The troopers decided to run the spot check on Highway 65 and Highway 86.
“What we did as a spot check was we would go out in a more rural area where the traffic wasn’t real heavy, and we would just stop cars as they came to us and look at their plates, we’d ask to see their license, and look at the car to see any obvious violations. We wrote mostly warnings,” said Hines.
During the afternoon, Linegar had stopped a van and started talking with the driver. Hines observed the conversation lasted longer than most with other drivers. That’s when Linegar asked the driver to pull to the side of the road.
“I worked my way back. Jim was sitting in my patrol car using the radio. He was checking the driver, and he said it had the name, Matthew Mark Samuels, on the license. It came back valid from Oregon but there’s a possible warrant for someone using that alias and that it was a weapons violation,” said Hines.
The troopers walked back to the van surrounding either side. Hines says Linegar was positioned behind the driver’s door so that it wouldn’t hit him and he was on the passenger side of the van.
“Jim stood behind the drivers’ door. I could hear Jim talking. He asked the driver, is this your van and the driver said no. And Jim asked whose it is, he said a friend. So Jim asked what’s your friend’s name. And the driver responded I don’t know him that well, I don’t remember his name. And Jim just immediately said, step out of the van.”
Hines says the man, later identified as David Tate, opened his door and shot Linegar.
“He was hit eleven times. The vest stopped nine of them. There were two that were critical, and they both went in basically under his left arm as he turned. You know, he turned to take cover. That’s what he was doing.”
It wasn’t until a sheriff’s deputy arrived that Hines realized he’d also been shot three times.
“I was struck in and out at the base of my neck, my right bicep, and right hip. You know they took care of me, and I dealt with some survivor’s guilt over that, you know, here Jim was wearing his vest,” said Hines. “I wasn’t that day, at that time. They were recommended but not mandatory, and I had looked at the weather, and it said it was going to be 70 to 75. It’s a day shift. Nothing is going to happen, you know?”
Before that deputy arrived, Hines had one of the hardest decisions to make -race after Tate and try to arrest him or stay with Linegar until help arrived.
“I went automatically into the training that we’d had. We trained and trained. You know what to do if somebody shoots at you, how to shoot back? The best way I could describe it was like a videotape on fast forward. Then somebody slammed the pause button on because when I got to the point where I could see Tate still running away, I realized how badly Jim was hurt. We had never talked or trained about what do you do? Do you go after the person, or do you stay with a wounded officer?”
Once help arrived, Linegar was taken to a hospital in Branson by helicopter, where he later died. Hines was taken to the same hospital for his injuries. This shooting started a manhunt for Tate.
During the week, law enforcement from around the region gathered to pay respect to Linegar at his funeral at College of the Ozarks.
Six days after the shooting…
“David Tate has been apprehended and identified.”
Tate was spotted at Shadow Rock Park in Forsyth, trying to drink water from a creek. Police swarmed the area and arrested him without incident. During a prison interview with KOLR10 Newsbeat, Tate said he was not prepared to spend that much time in the woods.
“I just kept walking. I figured I’d stay away from population, and I knew there was a highway North. I found out later it was about 100 miles away from me that there was no way I could really catch it going across the state, you know, but I was completely unprepared. I got pretty thirsty that day. You know, being famished that long and I wasn’t prepared for that. I hadn’t been fasting or anything like that regularly, and I went down, got a drink and when I went back up, if I’d stayed in the park, I probably wouldn’t have had a problem,” said Tate.
Tate had his first court hearing in May 1985. Defense Attorney Patrick Deaton subpoenaed news reporters covering the trial in an effort to prove past and future news stories would keep Tate from getting justice. The Taney County Judge Sam Appleby threw out the request for a closed hearing.
A change of venue was granted moving the case from Taney County to Boone County.
On October 25, Tate was moved from Greene County to Boone County. The trial started on November 11 with jury selection. On November 12, Tate’s defense attorney admitted Tate pulled the trigger and killed Linegar.
Tate said his isolated upbringing may have led to the shooting. He was associated with white supremacist groups known as The Order and the Aryan Nations in Idaho.
Richard Butler, the Aryan Nations leader, says Tate wanted to do something with his life and says that’s when Tate left the Nations and moved to the Order.
“He was a very fine young man, a very idealistic young man. Apparently, he felt he wasn’t doing anything laying out our publications. I think most young men get to the point that they want to do something. This is why he left the Aryan Nations to join the Order,” said Butler.
Tate shared what his beliefs are in the jail interview.
“I’m a separatist. I just don’t believe in race-mixing. It destroys our race, and it destroys theirs.”
Reporters: Tate. Is your own race superior to the others?
Tate: “It’s the one that’s chosen by God. Yes, I feel that.”
Full prison interview with David Tate:
On November 13, the 12-person jury convicted Tate of first-degree murder. The jury recommended Tate receive life in prison. On January 6, 1986, Tate was sentenced to life without parole. He also faced a second trial on January 28 due to Hines’ injuries. The additional charges are first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Tate was convicted on those new charges.
“The system that I work for, the judicial system and the system trooper Linegar gave his life for, is what we all believe in,” said Hines. “David Tate had a jury trial. The 12 jurors decided unanimously that he should not be put to death, and that’s the law of the state of Missouri, and that’s the law that we’ll abide.”
Since Tate’s trial, Hines says he saw a guy who specialized in police therapy. Hines credits his faith and the therapist for saving his life and his marriage. He stayed close friends with members of the Linegar family and said Jim’s son, Michael, became a trooper and covers that same area where Jim got shot while wearing Jim’s badge number.
“Anything you would want to say to David Tate to this day?” asks producer Chris Six.
“Just that you know, I’m sorry you know your beliefs are so messed up that you think this was right. You know you think that a Missouri State trooper was somebody who wasn’t worth your time. You know, I’m sorry your beliefs are that messed up because you know that’s just wrong,” Hines replied.
In 2013 MoDOT named the section of Highway 66 where the shooting happened after Linegar. Tate is still in the Missouri Department of Corrections at the Southeast Correctional Center.