ST. LOUIS – A suspect was shot and killed and a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department officer was injured during an altercation Wednesday (Dec. 12). It was the department’s first fatal police-involved shooting of the year.
According to Chief John Hayden, around 1 p.m., a license plate reader spotted a Hyundai Santa Fe that was recently reported stolen near the intersection of Goodfellow and Lillian. The Real-time Crime Center sent out an alert to officers to search for the vehicle.
Two officers spotted the stolen vehicle at a gas station near the intersection. An officer, on foot, confronted the driver of the stolen vehicle while he was sitting at a gas pump with the vehicle’s door open.
Our partners at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch spoke with a witness who said the officer told the suspect not to move.
The officer was knocked to the ground when the suspect put the SUV in reverse and accelerated. The vehicle crashed into another gas pump.
The officer fired his weapon at least once during the altercation striking the suspect in the chest. It is not clear at what point during the confrontation the shot was fired.
The Post reports the witness said the officer, with a gash on his head, began yelling, “Hang on man, don’t die, don’t die,” then shouted for an ambulance.
Both the officer and suspect were taken to the hospital. The suspect, described as a black man in his 20s, was pronounced dead at the hospital.
Hayden said the officer, who is 31-years-old and has been with the department for two years, is being treated for a significant but non-life-threatening head injury.
When Hayden spoke with reporters at the hospital after the incident, it was not known if the suspect had a gun in his vehicle. The investigation continues.
There is surveillance footage of the altercation at the gas station. The department expects to release that video in the future.
According to a spokesperson with the department, there have been nine police-involved shootings involving officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department this year. Wednesday’s incident is the department’s first fatal shooting of the year.
The officer injured in Wednesday’s incident is one of two officers with the department injured this year during police-involved shootings involving the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.