Spirit of St. Louis – Pick Your Charity, Pick Your Car

Arnold community plans more fundraisers for wounded police officer

ARNOLD, Mo. – Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor was back in surgery Thursday afternoon in an attempt to save the wounded officer’s life. Meanwhile, community support in Arnold for the injured officer continues to grow.

“It was just devastating, it’s devastating,” said Theresa Kamp, a bartender at Tenbrook Station Lounge.

More than a half dozen Arnold establishments, including that lounge, have announced fundraisers for Officer O’Connor and his family.

The bartender said Ryan O’Connor responded to a number of police calls at the lounge and was always helpful.

“He is a very nice gentleman,” Kamp said. “Anytime I’ve ever had anything to do with him, he’s always been kind.”

A local steakhouse is hosting an event. And the resale shop Contemporary Finds, is teaming up with the Arnold Eagles for another fundraiser.

“He’s part of the community, we’re part of the community,” said Treff LaPlant, who owners Contemporary Finds. “Just want to keep everything together… My father was a police officer. Just want to give the support back.”

O’Connor was critically wounded Tuesday afternoon in his patrol car at the Arnold police station. He was transporting a burglary suspect, identified as Chad Klahs, to the station when police said Klahs shot O’Connor in the back of the head.

The Jefferson County Sheriff Department is investigating. Officials are confident Klahs also killed himself. They still are not sure how Klahs, who was handcuffed, got a gun inside the patrol car.

“The ultimate goal is to avoid this happening again. It maybe policy issues, training issues, something to that affect,” said Captain Gary Higginbotham. “But like I said, there’s definitely an issue to end up in the back of a patrol car with a weapon and we just want to learn from this.”

Higginbotham said it will be weeks before the investigation is complete.

Meanwhile, Immaculate Conception Church will host a prayer service Thursday evening at 7 p.m. for Officer O’Connor and his family.