Days before chase, police learned of armed suspects via social media video

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) – St. Louis County police have launched an internal investigation into a police pursuit that left two men dead and a third man badly burned. The pursuit was the result of a live stream video scene on the internet that worried cops.

Cellphone video of a violent car crash moments after it happened showed smoke and flames on Riverview in north St. Louis. The pursuit began near Dellwood.

Police said the vehicle they were chasing traveled the wrong way on Riverview when it collided head-on with another car. Witnesses said there was an explosion. The two men police were chasing were dead at the scene.

“I mean the flames just went up,” said eyewitness Jimmy Conner. “I thought everybody was dead at that point, then I see the guy come out of the Suburban, I said ‘Roll, roll, roll,’ then police came with the fire extinguisher and put him out.”

That man, who had nothing to do with the pursuit, was rushed to the hospital.

Police said the case began days ago on Monday, when an officer spotted a live stream on social media showing four men with several guns in a dark colored Impala.

“An officer put out an intelligence bulletin based for officers’ safety based on the number of handguns on the live social media track,” said Sgt. Shawn McGuire, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department.

He’s not sure of the specifics of why the live stream was so worrisome to cops.

On Thursday afternoon, two of the four men were seen at a home in the county and officers got permission from a police supervisor to pursue the men in their car. Residents at the crash scene wondered why the two men weren’t stopped at that home, thus preventing the pursuit altogether.

“Why would you do a high-speed chase and jeopardize somebody else’s life?” Connor said.

McGuire said police chases are subject to internal investigation.

“…it goes all the way up to the chief. Everybody looking into this; it’s a big deal,” he said.

City police are investigating the crash. County cops are looking into the pursuit. The car being pursued had Georgia license plates. Those are many questions yet to be answered by the investigation.

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