NORTH ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI)-A man who brought what looked like a real gun into a north St. Louis restaurant is dead after he was shot by an off-duty police officer. Around 3:50am, 21 year old Donovan Thomas, of the 3000 block of Euclid in north St. Louis, entered a White Castle restaurant at Natural Bridge and Kingshighway, approached the counter, and showed the employees what looked like a gun.
Two off-duty officers who were working security saw what was happening and ordered the man to drop his weapon. Thomas refused and headed for the door, but not before turning toward the officers. Fearing for their safety and the safety of employees and customers, one officer fired a shot
Thomas was hit in the abdomen. He was taken to an area hospital where he later died.
A gun was recovered from the scene that appears to be a fake.
“Having initially examined it, it appears to be a toy weapon,” St. Louis Metropolitan Police Captain Michael Sack explained. “We’ll take it to our lab. But, it has all the appearances of being a live weapon.”
Not only did the gun look real, Sack said it looked familiar.
“It’s a black gun, a pistol. It looks like it might be a mock-up of ours, a 9-millimeter Beretta.”
The officer that fired the shot is a 48 year old woman, a 21-year veteran of the police department. She will be placed on administrative leave while the investigation continues.
“None of us want to use lethal force,” said Captain Sack. “ But, she was put into a situation here this morning where she was faced with a subject armed with a gun and she had to take action.”
The suspect matches the description of a suspect who committed a prior robbery at the White Castle.
"The employees say that the same suspect, they recognized him when he came in, as being the same person that robbed them back in November," Sack said, speaking of a robbery at gunpoint on Nov. 20, 2012. No one was arrested for that crime.
This incident is the first officer-involved shooting of 2013.