There has been an increase in suspects committing carjackings with assault-style rifles in the City of St. Louis. Police say officers were investigating this crime trend Tuesday morning when a suspect pointed a rifle at them.
Detectives with the Special Operations Division were parked in an unmarked vehicle in the 5900 block of Page. They were wearing tactical gear with the words "Police" across their chests.
The officers were running plates on a stolen Nissan Altima in northwest St. Louis city. The vehicle was under surveillance because police believe it was used in several carjackings. A man got out of the vehicle at at stoplight at around 11:20 a.m. and pointed an AK-style weapon at them. He told the officers to get out of the vehicle.
Acting Police Commissioner Lawrence O'Toole says he does not believe the suspect knew that the carjacking victims were police officers at the time. The officers then exchanged gunfire with the suspect. It is unclear about how many shots were fired.
The 21-year-old suspect from north St. Louis County was shot in the arms and legs. He dropped to the ground. Police say his injuries do not appear to be life threatening. He is being treated at an area hospital.
The vehicle he was in then sped away with at least one other occupant inside. That vehicle was found a short time later in the 1200 block of Hamilton. Police say the Nissan was stolen in a mid-October during a carjacking in the 5200 block of Genevieve.
The officers involved in the shooting are 9-year veterans of the force. They are 34 and 36 years of age, respectively. One of them was struck in the face by shattered glass during the shooting. He was treated at an area hospital.
Police said this type of encounter with an assault style weapon is not uncommon. The weapon used in this crime was a stolen AK-47 from Jefferson County.
There is at least one suspect at large. The shooting is still under investigation. You're encouraged to call CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 if you have any information on the incident. You can also visit STLRCS.org. Tips sent through this hotline are eligible for a reward. You can remain anonymous.
FOX 2 initially reported an officer had been shot. That information has since been corrected.
This comes less than one week after a man was killed and a teenager was wounded during an officer-involved shooting on Thanksgiving Day.