ST. LOUIS – An appalling, daytime, execution-style murder captured on video has people wondering what has become of St. Louis.

The disturbing video has been viewed and shared millions of times on social media. It showed the victim sitting on a curb on Tucker Boulevard in front of the former Globe-Democrat newspaper building around 10:00 a.m. Monday.

The police said the victim had already been shot in the back. The gunman stands over the victim as the man recording the video from inside the building urges others to call the police, unaware that the victim has already been shot. In the video, it appears the gunman struggles to load the gun. Then, to the shock of the person filming, the gunman shoots the victim in the head.

“It was crazy, man, most definitely tragic out here,” Tiger Jackson, a downtown resident, said after seeing the video for the first time.

Police identified the gunman as Deshawn Thomas, 23, of south St. Louis. The police identified the victim as David Saldana, who was apparently homeless. The two men had an altercation at the Shell station at Tucker and Convention Plaza, according to the police.

According to a court document filed by police, Thomas first shot Saldana in the back as he ran across Tucker. Thomas followed Saldana. Then, as Saldana sat on a curb, begging for his life, Thomas fired the fatal shot.
All of it was captured on video by a witness and nearby surveillance cameras.

Marcus Powell lives a couple of blocks away and felt he had to visit the scene Tuesday to try to somehow make sense of things. However, it didn’t work.

“It’s frightening. It makes me afraid for what’s going on in the country and afraid for what’s going on here in St. Louis,” he said.

Jackson said he knew both Thomas and Saldana. He said Saldana struggled with mental issues but was harmless.

“It’s getting worse,” Jackson said. “(Thomas) didn’t care what he did. His intention was only to kill, so, there it was.”

“It just makes me wonder what could possibly happen to me or people that I know, people in my family,” Powell said. “I’m from St. Louis. I like St. Louis. I think it’s a great city.”

Both men noted the ongoing lack of police presence in the city, especially downtown.

Police later caught Thomas going into the main St. Louis Public Library, which is about six blocks from the murder scene. He’s charged with first-degree murder and jailed without bond.