The detective who was shot was in an unmarked police vehicle, following his own personal car at the time, police said. His car had been missing and possibly stolen.
Police recovered the car on Pennsylvania Avenue, about six blocks from the wild shooting scene at Iowa and Miami. Police arrested a 35-year-old man with the car. It was not clear whether he was one of the suspected gunmen.
“I was asleep and I was awakened to gunfire,” said Darrell Boxx, who lives near the shooting scene. “All I heard was ‘pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow, pow!’ My son was here with me, he said, ‘Daddy, get down!’”
It happened just after 1:15 a.m. At least three vehicles parked nearby were hit. One man in a pickup truck had to a duck for cover when a bullet shattered his rear window.
The detective made it as far as Jefferson and Cherokee. Another officer picked him up there and rushed him to a hospital, police said. The officer was struck in the shoulder.
St. Louise Mayor Lyda Krewson visited the officer while he was convalescing.
“We’re glad it wasn’t even worse than it was. He was shot through the shoulder. So thank your police officers today,” Krewson said. “This is an example of what our police officers face every day. But he was awake; he was talking. He’s in some pain. His family is there; so he’s okay.”
The wounded detective let a relative borrow his personal car and it was never returned, police said. It was unclear whether it was stolen from the relative or the relative gave the car to someone else.
Two male suspects got away. The gunmen appeared to be waiting to ambush the detective when they opened fire, sources said.
It’s unclear whether they knew the detective was a law enforcement officer.
“He was with a number of other detectives in that area, he was fired upon while he was in his vehicle,” said Interim St. Louis Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole.
The wounded detective is 54-years-old and a well-respected 25-year police veteran.
Police are still seeking suspects in the case.