Exclusive: Police officer recalls shootout with Maryland Heights gunman

Missouri

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – Earlier this week, 32-year-old Michael Honkomp pleaded guilty to charges in the shooting death of his co-worker at Maryland Heights Community Center in February 2020.

FOX 2’s Mike Colombo spoke exclusively with the police officer who confronted Honkomp at the scene. Maryland Heights Officer Larry Jerrod described the firefight that ended the threat and prevented a tragic situation from becoming much worse.

“He basically just looked at me with a blank stare,” Jerrod said. “I was like, wow, this guy has no emotion. I could see no life in his eyes. I tell him again, ‘Drop it.'”

“As soon as I yelled that second command, I’m taking fire,” Jerrod continued.

Bullets were flying, glass was breaking — and Jerrod knew Feb. 24, 2020, might be his last night on the job.

“I literally thought about my family. Am I going to make it to see them again? I didn’t know. I honestly didn’t know,” Jerrod said. “The training kicked in, and it was just like shooting back at that moment. Once I return fire, he starts moving, I start moving.”

Michael Honkomp

“At that point, I start looking for cover, concealment, anything to put something between us like a barrier,” he continued. “There was nothing, just all glass. It was scary. It felt like an eternity that I was there. It was no more than a couple of minutes, but it literally felt like ten years. It felt like it was just going on forever.”

Jerrod described a moment of eerie quiet inside the Maryland Heights Community Center before he made his move on gunman Honkomp.

“You can literally hear him trying to reload. You hear a magazine drop, hit the ground,” he said. “At that moment, I’m frantically running down the hallway like, ‘No, I’m not letting you reload and get the opportunity to keep shooting.'”

Jerrod said he managed to shoot the gun out of Honkomp’s hand.

“That moment was the first time he actually spoke to me, and he was like, ‘Kill me,'” said Jerrod. “In my mind, I’m like this is not what I’m here to do. I just want to make sure you’re done shooting at me.”

The terror was over, but Jerrod now faced a new adversary — grief. He was told Honkomp shot and killed Maria Lucas prior to their firefight.

“It put me in a completely different place, a dark place,” Jerrod said.

He said he’s thankful for the support from his friends, family, and the police department.

“They helped me come out of that dark place and basically helped me understand that without me, he probably could’ve hurt other people or hurt himself,” said Jerrod.

Jerrod said despite the challenges he’s faced in his three years of being a police officer, he wants to continue making his community safer.

“It gets scary at times. I’m not even going to lie to you. It’s a scary job. But somebody has to do it, so why not me?”

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