1 Day. 4 Cities. Police Officers Shot in All.
By Christine Byers, Jeremy Kohler and Jesse Bogan
A man being sought as a suspect in the shooting of a St. Louis police officer Sunday night was shot and killed in a shootout with police early Monday.
Undercover officers had found the suspect's car abandoned at a parking garage at Laclede's Landing, police said. A woman had picked him up there and officers tracked their vehicle to the intersection of Smiley and Leola avenues in St. Louis. The suspect, about 19 years old, apparently realized he was being followed, jumped out of the car and fired a shot at the officers, striking the windshield of their pickup truck.
The suspect ran and officers pursued. He was killed in front of a house about 100 yards up the street, police said, about 12:45 a.m.
The suspect's identity was not immediately released. The woman was in custody.
He was being sought for questioning in the shooting of a St. Louis police sergeant about 7:30 p.m. Sunday near Hampton and Pernod avenues. A driver had pulled up next to the sergeant's SUV and opened fire.
"He was targeted because he was a police officer," Mayor Francis Slay said at a press conference at Barnes Jewish Hospital. "He didn't stop anybody. He didn't point a gun at anybody."
Police said the sergeant, 46, had been shot twice in the face and was conscious. He was in critical but stable condition and expected to live. He is a 20-year veteran of the department.
The shooting in St. Louis comes on the same day that a police officer in San Antonio was shot to death while writing a ticket. Also, a police officer in Sanibel, Fla., was shot and wounded as he conducted a traffic stop Sunday evening. And late Sunday, a police officer and a suspect were shot during a traffic stop about 10:30 p.m. in the Kansas City suburb of Gladstone, Mo. That officer is expected to recover; no information on the shooter was available.
When police arrived at the shooting scene in St. Louis, the sergeant was sitting in his SUV, his seatbelt was fastened and his gun was holstered.
"He didn't have time to react to this threat," Police Chief Sam Dotson said.
A source told the Post-Dispatch that the sergeant said a car had pulled up beside his SUV and the officer thought the driver was going to ask him a question. Instead, the person in the car fired at the officer.
The sergeant did not get a good look at the shooter, the source said.
"The officer says he saw the muzzle flashes and felt the glass breaking in his window as the shots came through and struck him in the head," Dotson said.
The police sergeant has two bullets lodged in his face, one near his nose, the other in his cheek, a source told the Post-Dispatch. The officer has three children and works out of the Second District.
When other police arrived at the scene, the sergeant's SUV was in the left lane on Hampton facing south. Shattered glass from the driver's side window could be seen on the street.
Police thought the car involved in the shooting may have been connected to a car taken in a carjacking Saturday in the Affton area, a source said. Police said the suspect in the Affton case also was being sought for questioning in a homicide Saturday in St. Louis. In that case, firefighters responding to a car fire found a man who had been shot in the head in the 500 block of West Poepping Street.
Dotson said it was too early in the investigation to say whether this shooting was related to the Affton case. The car in that case was tan; the police sergeant said the car that had pulled up next to him was silver.
Police were looking for a silver vehicle that may have gone east on Pernod. They also were scouring the area near Pernod for surveillance video, Dotson said.
"Fortunately, and for the blessing of God, the officer is going to survive tonight," Dotson said. "But he was shot twice in the head, twice in the face."
He, too, asked for the help from the public.
"It's not [just] a threat to our police department, it's a threat to our community, our city," Dotson said. "This officer was driving down the road and was ambushed by an individual who pointed a gun at him from inside of his car and shot out the police officer's window. This just shows the dangers of policing, not only here in St. Louis but around the country."
All officers are now patrolling two officers to a car, he said.
The site of the shooting was by St. Joan of Arc School and a half block north of the St. Louis Police Officers Association Union Hall.
The San Antonio officer was shot to death in his squad car Sunday outside police headquarters by another driver who pulled up from behind. San Antonio police Chief William McManus identified the officer as Detective Benjamin Marconi, 50, a 20-year veteran of the force.
McManus said the shooter had not been apprehended Sunday night. He said he didn't believe the man had any relationship to the original motorist who was pulled over, and no motive has been identified.
In Sanibel, the Fort Myers News-Press reported, the officer was shot in a drive-by shooting while he sat in his patrol car after completing a routine traffic stop. The officer was released from the hospital late Sunday. A suspect was in custody.
Few details were available late Sunday on the Gladstone shooting, althought the Kansas City Fraternal Order of Police tweeted that the Gladstone officer "is expected to live" and that it was "the best news we could have asked for."
Missouri Governor-elect Eric Greitens tweeted Sunday night: "A St. Louis Police Officer was ambushed this evening. Another officer in Gladstone shot while on traffic stop. We must always have the backs of those who keep us safe. Prayers with their families tonight."
CrimeStoppers in St. Louis offered a $5,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of the shooter. The number is 1-866-371-8477.
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