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Police officer ambushed in Central West End; gunman at large

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ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) - A St. Louis police officer was shot early Tuesday morning in the Central West End. The shooting occured shortly before 5a.m. on Maryland Avenue, between Kingshighway and N. Euclid. Authorities believe he was ambushed.

The suspect is still at large.

The officer was rushed to an area hospital with what appears to be non-life threatening injuries. He was released shortly before 10a.m.

According to a tweet from St. Louis City Police Chief Sam Dotson, the officer's ballistic vest did its job.

The 39-year-old St. Louis Police Sergeant is a sixteen year veteran of the force. Investigators say he was sitting in his personal car, in full uniform, while working secondary patrol when he observed three male subjects walking in the area. A short time later, a car, occupied by the same three men, along with a fourth person, pulled directly in front of the officer's vehicle. One suspect exited the passenger side of the car and began firing shots at the officer. The officer, still seated in his vehicle, was shot in the upper torso, with a bullet striking his bullet-proof vest.

Fearing for his safety, investigators say the officer fired shots at the suspect. It is unknown if any injuries were sustained. The vehicle left the scene and the apparent gunman fled on foot. The uniformed officer pursued the man on foot for a short distance before losing sight of him.

The suspects are described as African-American males. They were driving a silver or gray newer-model Ford Taurus.

The gunman is described as an African- American male, between 18 and 22-years-old, 5'7"-5'8" tall. He has a thin build, medium complexion and facial hair. He was wearing a black bandana, which fell off near the scene.

This is an ongoing investigation.

If you have any information you are urged to call 9-1-1.