ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – Authorities have arrested a man accused of shooting an off-duty police officer earlier this week at a Ferguson Walmart.
According to the St. Louis County Police Department, the 35-year-old Calverton police officer was working security in the Walmart on West Florissant Avenue and was in full uniform when he approached a suspected shoplifter shortly after 7:10 p.m. on Sunday, February 16.
The man pulled out a firearm and shot the officer in the arm and twice in his body. The suspect fled in a car.
The 35-year-old officer, who has more than two years of law enforcement experience, was rushed to a local hospital. His injuries were not life-threatening. The officer was wearing a protective vest when he was shot.
On Tuesday, county police observed a vehicle near Canfield Drive in Ferguson that matched the description of the car leaving the scene of the shooting.
According to Sgt. Benjamin Granda, a county police spokesman, officers followed the vehicle and requested additional support in tracking the car.
Officers attempted to pull the suspect vehicle over near Airport and N. Florissant roads but the suspect sped away. Police pursued the car into a business parking lot in the 8900 block of Jennings Station Road, where the suspect jumped out of the vehicle and attempted to run away on foot.
Granda said police caught up to the driver in the parking lot of the nearby Dollar Tree store and took him into custody.
One man, who asked not to be identified, was driving in front of the suspect's vehicle during the chase.
"I was in front of him. They were coming up from behind me. I had nowhere to go. Pretty scary," he said. "I didn't know if he was going to hit me or not. He turned real fast and that's when he landed up on that curb. I'm glad they got him off the street because he was a menace."
Antoinette Richie saw police chase the suspect on foot.
"I saw him running straight down the street and the police car was on the street," she said. "He got right about here to the edge and jumped and then fell straight in his face. By that time, the policeman was out of the car and jumped on top of him and it was over then."
Meanwhile, the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office is pursuing warrants against the suspected shooter, who's only been identified as a 20-year-old man.