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Drury Inn murder victim remembered as “gentle soul”

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Drury Hotels is offering a $25,000 reward for information leading to the arrest of a man who killed a hotel manager overnight.

Scott Knopfel was killed just before 3 a.m. in the lobby of the Drury Inn at Hampton and Interstate 44. He was one of six people murdered in St. Louis in just under 12 hours.

Knopfel, 50, buzzed the suspect through a locked door in the lobby, thinking the man was a customer.

The man pulled out a gun, jumped over the counter, and a scuffle occurred. The would-be robber then shot Knopfel in the head and ran away.

“We hope this reward will be an incentive for someone to come forward and help solve this senseless crime,” said Chuck Drury, president and CEO of Drury Hotels. “This is a tragic situation, and our goal is to bring justice for Scott’s family.”

Knopfel was part of a close knit family and very involved in his church. He’s a former reservationist for TWA and American Airline. He was loved by many people.

“He enjoyed helping others, he enjoyed serving others, I should say, and that was reflected in the jobs he had in the hospitality industry,” said Michael Knopfel, Scott’s brother.

“I would describe him a gentle giant, always a smile, always a kind word for someone,” said Jeanne Ryan, fellow church member.

Police hope surveillance video obtained from the Drury Inn will help them apprehend the man responsible. The gunman is described as an African-American man, last seen wearing a Chicago Bulls cap, khaki pants, a dark leather coat, and a black t-shirt with the Adidas logo.

Anyone with information on the suspect’s identity and whereabouts is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.