ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -Inside an emotional courtroom Friday the horrors on the streets of St. Louis were described. It arose from a 2010 incident when Arvon Brown did not want to give a St. Louis police officer his name or identification. Instead, Brown emptied his clip of 15 rounds. Eight bullets hit the officer, some while the officer lay wounded on the ground. On Friday, Brown was sentenced to life in prison with the possibility of parole.
Former St. Louis Police Officer Joseph Haman encountered Brown at a gas station at Grand and Natural Bridge in St. Louis when he pulled over a car with Brown and three other people inside. The car’s plates didn't match the vehicle. Brown was a passenger. When he unloaded his 40 caliber, Haman fired back.
Haman said, "There’s no point in thinking you’re going to die. You fight until there’s no breath in you left and you continue fighting and that’s what I did. I’ve seen a lot of people injured a lot worse than me that are fine today."
Prosecutors brought the uniform Haman wore that day. It showed the bullet wounds to his arm and leg and lower back. A bullet proof vest stopped two of the eight hits.
Haman said, "I remember looking up to the sun and seeing my wife’s face and saying ‘I’m not dying here at this gas station. I’ve seen people worse and I’ll be just fine’.”
St. Louis Assistant Circuit Attorney Tanja Engelhardt described how Officer Haman survived two military tours and the Battle of Fallujah, only to be gunned down in St. Louis. She described it as, "...chilling. It always struck me after talking to Joe about his military experience, his experiences in the Marine Corps, surviving those battles oversees. It was shocking that the streets of St. Louis are meaner the streets of Iraq."
Yet Haman says he would do it again.
He explained police work as "...my dream. I’d have people stop me, same gas station I got shot at and would say 'Hey do you remember who I am? I just wanted to say thank you, you really changed my life’."
Convict Brown sobbed in court saying over and over that he doesn`t remember anything. The sentencing report describes Brown trying to blame a video game called Grand Theft Auto. His life sentence, since he`s eligible for parole, means he could end up serving less than 30 years.
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