Off-duty officer fired shot accidentally at West County Center, investigator says

DES PERES, Mo. – Investigators say an off-duty St. Louis police officer accidentally fired a shot while chasing two suspected shoplifters outside a suburban shopping mall.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that no one was hurt in the Sept. 17 incident at West County Center.

Des Peres Director of Public Safety Eric Hall says the officer told investigators that he saw the suspects reaching in their pockets while running. The officer drew his weapon, but kept it at his side, because he wasn’t sure whether they were reaching for keys or a weapon.

The men got into a car, and as the engine revved, the officer fired one shot at the ground. The officer said he squeezed the trigger because he was startled.
St. Louis police are conducting an internal investigation of the shooting.
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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

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