BERKELEY, Mo. – A birthday celebration turned deadly as a man was gunned down as he ate with friends and family at a Waffle House restaurant in Berkeley.
The Waffle House in the 4500 block of James S. McDonnell Boulevard reopened Tuesday afternoon after being closed all day.
The shooting took place just after midnight.
Police identified the victim as 26-year-old Justin Jones of Jennings.
Jones was inside the restaurant at the time of the shooting. He was shot at least once.
Investigators said it appears someone outside the restaurant fired the gun. It’s unclear if Jones was the intended target.
Jones was a graduate of the Gentlemen of Vision organization, which provides mentoring and academic help to disadvantaged young males. It also has a championship step team. Jones was a dancer on that team.
And even after graduating from the program, Jones came back to support the Gentlemen of Vision, according to founder Marlon Wharton.
“He’s one of the guys that gives back to the organization. He comes back and talks to his little brothers, the high schoolers, and middle schoolers,” Wharton said.
“He actually has donated money to make sure everybody can go on trips. He’s active. He just spoke with all of these guys two weeks ago and told them to listen to everything they can out of the program. After he graduated out he comes back, he gives back to these guys, so this is going to hurt. It’s going to hurt the whole organization. I know his family is devastated.”
Anyone who might have seen or heard something or has information about the case is asked to call the St. Louis County Police Department at 314-615-5000 or CrimeStoppers at 866-371-TIPS.