Central West End on edge after police officer is shot

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – Reaction to Tuesday morning’s shooting of a St. Louis police officer in the Central West end is unsettling to some residents and business owners alike.

“I was really angry and scared about what happened,” said Dennis Gorg, owner of the Coffee Cartel, a short block away from the site of the shooting.

One of his customers, a Central West End resident, echoed those feelings.

“I have two daughters that I allow to walk around the West End in the evening and I don’t feel comfortable doing that now”. “I hope this is an anomaly.”

Police have not released the name of the victim, but he is well known in the neighborhood.

“I don’t often find myself speechless, but here is someone who came to work, worked a hard shift and then came to work working secondary to protect us,” Gorg said.

“We have to figure out how to put the guns down,” he said.

The shooting comes at a time when the Central West End is experiencing unprecedented residential and commercial growth, with over $1 billion underway in residential and commercial construction, so keeping the area safe is more important than ever to the success of the city.

That’s part of why the Central West End Neighborhood Security Initiative was created.  It uses off-duty officers and a network of more than 80 cameras to try to keep crime under control.

“They come down to the Central West End like they do in other neighborhoods in the city looking for things to steal and looking for crimes to commit,” said Jim Whyte, executive director. “Fortunately with our investment, we have been successful in getting the police good video evidence they need to successfully apprehend and eventually prosecute these guys,” Whyte said.

Several windows were shattered by stray bullets near the scene including at Bissinger’s Chocolatier on Maryland Plaza.

“We will be open tomorrow,” said C.O.O Tim Petron.

“We are proud to do business in the city.”