CLAYTON, Mo. — A former Velda City police officer gave up his badge after pleading guilty to shooting at a suspect after a traffic stop. Matthew Schanz, 36, was sentenced to five years in prison. A plea deal will suspend that sentence if he gives up his Missouri Peace Officer certification and refrain from employment in law enforcement or corrections while on probation.
“This police officer was not entitled to shoot this individual because he was fleeing a traffic stop. This individual surrendering his badge was a good outcome of this incident – which could have been fatal,” states St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell.
Officers pulled a vehicle over in February 2020 for expired temporary tags at Octavia Avenue and West Florissant in Flordell Hills. They claimed to smell marijuana in the car and intended to search it without cause. When the driver sped off, one officer falsely reported an attempt to run him over.
The officers caught up with the driver as he turned around at a dead end. One officer stepped in front of the car, yelled to stop, and fired, while the other officer also shot at the vehicle. Schanz fired nine of the shots.
The driver was seriously injured. The incident was captured on his police dashboard and body-worn cameras. Officer Christopher Gage was also charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action.
Note: The video in this story is from 2020.