Man Shot & Killed While Answering Back Door

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A man was murdered in a barrage of gunfire at his St. Louis apartment just west of downtown while two of his children were sleeping upstairs.

It happened around 8:50am Monday at the Lucas Heights Apartments at Samuel Shepperd and Leffingwell just south of Delmar.

There were at least 23 bullet casings marked by police and more than a dozen bullet holes in the back door of the apartment.

Police say it began when the victim, Mark Wells, Jr., 35 answered a knock at his back door. He wasn't even able to open it before the killer opened fire.

"He was definitely the target.  It was not random," St. Louis Police Lt. John Green said.

Later in the day Chief Sam Dotson was reenforcing that message.

"It certainly wasn’t random.  It certainly wasn’t on the street.  And these people certainly had some interaction or connection to each other."

Late Monday police appeared to have taken a step toward identifying that connection.  Officers say Wells was seen arguing with another black male sometime before the shooting.  They're still trying to determine who he was fighting with.

We’re told Wells lived in the apartment with at least some of his children. He was a father of three.

Police tell us Wells’ two boys, about 12 years old, were asleep upstairs when the shooting happened.

St. Louis Police Lt. John Green, “It appears that the victim went to the back door, and somebody knocked on the back door, he went to answer it and they fired through the door. We have multiple high powered rounds, cartridge casings at the scene. The bullets went straight through the door and into the victim.”

Green says multiple weapons may have been used, including an AR-15 assault rifle.

One neighbor told us she heard several shots and that it sounded like fireworks.

St. Louis police have no suspects at this point but they believe at least two attackers were involved.

The children were not hurt.

If you have any information, you are asked to call St. Louis police or Crimestoppers at 866-371-TIPS (8477).