Audrain murder happened during fight for gun

Investigators say Summer Hickman was struck by a bullet in the pelvic region while struggling for possession of a gun with Ricky Harding, Jr.

Investigators in Audrain County believe Summer Hickman of rural Mexico was shot during a struggle for a gun with her husband, Ricky J. Harding, Jr.

According to court documents, on Sunday afternoon Harding and Hickman were arguing at the home they shared on County Road 923 and began struggling with a Colt .45 pistol. During the struggle, the gun went off, striking Hickman in the pelvic region.

Authorities say after the shooting, Harding drug Hickman's body to the garage, where it was later found by police in a pool of blood. He then fled the scene without calling for help, leaving four minor children, ranging in age from six to 12, alone in the residence.

Harding has several previous felony convictions for burglary, stealing, and possession of drugs. He was also convicted on two counts of misdemeanor domestic violence in 2006. The combination of convictions prohibits Harding from possessing firearms and ammunition.

Harding is charged with second degree murder, first degree domestic assault, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a firearm, and four counts of first degree endangering the welfare of a child.