ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — Police want to know why one local market is the source of so much chaos. It’s a store that serves a community that’s a food island, with the nearest grocery store 2 miles away.
On Thursday, FOX 2 revealed an exclusive video of a shootout that happened last month at the Wellston Food Market.
Four people visiting the market on Page Avenue began shooting at each other around 2:30 p.m. Friday, May 27. An innocent shopper was shot in the stomach. Another shopper’s car was destroyed by gunfire.
North County Police Cooperative Major Ron Martin wants answers.
“Why is this location creating such havoc? I would venture to say thousands of families and friends have a loved one that has experienced some type of violence at this store,” Martin said.
The calls for service reach nearly 2,000 in the last few years. Calls ranging from assaults to complaints about large gatherings.
A call about a stolen check back in 2019 led to the shooting death of North County Police Cooperative Officer Micheal Langsdorf inside the business.
Martin said that the store “serves a good purpose to 99% of the people that are the good people.”
“Unfortunately, that store also provides an element for the bad guy,” he continued. “That’s odd to me. Why does the bad guy pick this location?”
Wellston is a community where the nearest grocery store can be 2 miles away for some. Still, Wellston Mayor Nathaniel Griffin said those shoppers deserve to be safe, and he’s preparing to take court action.
“We want to close them down for good,” Griffin said.
The mayor said it’s taking time to make sure they do it right. He said the city has struggled with similar actions regarding other businesses in the past.
“(We) lost a lot of lawsuits when I was coming in, and it hurt our general fund tremendously,” he said. “And so I want to make sure I’m doing right by taxpayer dollars, but also at the same time, protecting and keeping our citizens’ business owners, as well as the citizens safe.”
Secretary of State records led us to the business owner who lives in a secured Central West End building. The call box at the locked door allows you to call him directly, but it rings on his fax machine. FOX 2 also faxed him a request for comment. He has not answered.
“It’s past the point of talking,” Martin said as he called for citizen input. “It’s at the point of action and I think the action happens when we get to the table.”
Detectives are also still trying to identify three of the four gunmen in the May 27 shootout. The trial for the suspect charged in the shooting and killing of officer Michael Langsdorf begins Monday in Clayton.