USAF veteran beaten to death with a car jack in St. Louis

Two men were charged with murder Monday after an Air Force veteran died from injuries caused by a weekend assault outside a St. Louis bar.

The victim was identified as Chaise Dunlap, 27, of Old Monroe, Missouri. Dunlap’s mother, Cresent Dunlap, told the Post-Dispatch on Monday that her son died of severe head trauma and had been hospitalized on life support.

Two men, Devin Dodson, 24, of Wentzville, and Deangelo Williams, 30, of St. Louis, were charged with second-degree murder in the case, according to the St. Charles County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office. Charges against both men were upgraded from assault after Dunlap’s death. Williams also faces a count of armed criminal action.

Wentzville police said the incident happened just before 2 a.m. Saturday in the 100 block of South Linn Avenue, outside the Lava Lounge Hookah and Bar.

According to charging documents, there had been several fights earlier that night in the bar and Williams was walking to his car when Dunlap followed after him yelling racial slurs. Williams told police he then punched Dunlap and went to his girlfriend’s car and retrieved a vehicle jack from the trunk, charging documents said.

Williams told police he saw Dodson fighting with Dunlap on the ground and struck Dunlap in the head and neck with the vehicle jack, court documents state. Williams told officers he was trying to break up the fight, the documents said.

Police stated in charging documents that there is video of the attack that showed Williams striking Dunlap two more times after he was unconscious and defenseless. A witness also told investigators she saw the fight.

Police obtained a search warrant and recovered a vehicle jack that appeared to have blood on it from the car of Williams’ girlfriend, charging documents said.

Both Williams and Dodson were arrested at the scene.

Dunlap worked in avionics for the Air Force, on an aircraft known as the A-10 “Warthog.” He deployed overseas twice. He left the military in 2017 and worked at Boeing, his mother said.

Dunlap is survived by a 4-year-old daughter.

“He was just a great guy,” Cresent Dunlap said. “He liked to hunt and fish. He was kindhearted.”

Cresent Dunlap said she doesn’t know all the details of her son’s death, but was told that “there was a scuffle and someone picked up a pipe and assaulted my son.”

She said she felt for the families of the men who face criminal charges, too.

“Three families are ruined right now,” she said. “My heart breaks for the mothers of those boys.”

Erin Heffernan of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.


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