(KTVI) - Florissant police reported this afternoon a wounded officer is permanently paralyzed. Officer Mike Vernon is paralyzed from the waist down. He was shot three times early Monday morning while answering a burglary call.
Police are also warning citizens that scammers are trying to take advantage of Officer Vernon`s ordeal. Florissant Chief Bill Karabas said, "It`s low, the lowest of the low." He said scam artists are calling residents and soliciting donations in Vernon`s name. The chief said police don`t do things like that, "It`s disgusting."
Meanwhile many donations are coming in to the police department including checks for hundreds of dollars, a young boy even brought in changes from his piggy bank. There will be a fundraiser for the officer and his family Saturday at Joe`s Pub in Florissant and folks have been donating items for an auction at the pub.
The chief said Vernon was ambushed by the gunman. It appears the suspect seemed determined to murder the officer. Karabas said, "He raised up and fired shots at this officer in fact when he was down he fired a shot at him he wanted to kill him in my opinion."
He said he`s overwhelmed by the community`s support for Officer Vernon, "The outpouring and prayers, if the volume is going to convince the Lord to help this officer recover he certainly will."
Karabas said the Vernon`s wife has been at the hospital round the clock since her husband was wounded. The ordeal is hard on her and hard on the officer`s family, "They`re holding up as best as they can, they`re a great family they`re very close and this has been quite a shock to them as it would be to any police officer`s family."
At last report Mike Vernon remained in critical but stable condition as doctors continue to assess his situation.