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Special t-shirt sale planned for wounded Arnold police officer

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ARNOLD, Mo. – It’s now been a week since the near fatal shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor.

Tuesday brought the first news of slight improvement O’Connor’s condition. Multiple police sources told Fox2/News11 there were finally signs of things moving in the right direction.

The extent of O’Connor’s recovery from catastrophic head injury remains unknown.

O’Connor, his family, and his police department are getting huge boosts from an overwhelming outpouring of support.

“Officer O’Connor has a long road ahead of him. He’s still in critical condition,” Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey said.

He would not discuss details.

“This family’s going to need our help forever. We want to be there for them. We are going to be there for them,” he said.

So much has happened in a week.

O’Connor, 44, was shot in the head by burglary suspect Chad Klahs, who’d just gotten out of jail. O’Connor was taking him in to book him on additional charges.

Police had seized a handgun from Klahs, but investigators said he somehow kept another one hidden and used it to shoot O’Connor in the parking lot of the police station before shooting and killing himself all while handcuffed, investigators said.

The outpouring of support for Arnold police, O’Connor, and his family, was unlike anything they’d ever seen, Shockey said.

“Our officers were just devastated. We all were. The city was. The residents were. The public jumping in and supporting my officers has really helped them. Even on a call they get people coming up to them saying ‘our thoughts and prayers are with you’,” Shockey said.

The chief urged people to keep it up.

Police will be selling 6,000 “Fighting Irish” police t-shirts and hoodies, calling to mind O’Connor’s police and Irish heritage. He is a married father of four sons, ages 4 to 17. The family’s needs will extend far beyond this first week and into the long but potentially rewarding years ahead.

“We’re there for Ryan. We’re there for his family. But the public’s been there for us, too,” Shockey said. “That’s just amazing. Complete strangers just walk up to you and say ‘We’re with you’…we always say we’ve got your back, but the public’s had our back for the last week and the O’Connor family for the last week. It’s amazing.”

The shirts are being sold Saturday from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. at all Syberg’s locations and at Helen Fitzgeralds in Sunset Hills. All proceeds go directly to the family. Gift cards for the family’s everyday needs from gas to groceries are also appreciated.

The Arnold Police Facebook page has details on all upcoming fundraisers and ways for you to donate.