ST. LOUIS – Security camera video shows suspects opening fire on a FOX 2 crew Monday afternoon with what appear to be pellet guns. Reporter Andy Banker was struck in the head but not seriously hurt.
The attack happened around 12:45 p.m. on South Spring Avenue, near Chippewa Street.
Banker and FOX 2 photographer Brian Ledford first heard rapid fire, then saw what appeared to be gel-blaster-style guns made for airsoft games. There were male teens firing pellets directly at Banker and Ledford from the front and rear passenger seats. Ledford was not struck.
Missouri State Rep. Steve Butz, D-South St. Louis, knows the feeling of being hit with one of the pellets.
“It did hurt; I was surprised!” he said.
Butz was shot just below his eye in a similar incident a year and a half ago, as he was walking to his car from his house.
“Just of all the sudden, I hear this, ‘ffft, ffft, fffft, fffft’ sound. I thought I got stung by a hornet or wasp, then I saw these two kids slowly drive by. They were laughing. I saw them slinked down with a very small, pellet-type gun, and I’m like, ‘Son of a gun, those guys just shot me.’”
Police report similar cases across the country since spring 2022: a woman with her child in a stroller coming under fire in Florida, and a boy shot in the face and side while riding his bike in Georgia.
The suspects typically record videos of the victims being hit and share the videos on social media, according to the police.
St. Louis police are investigating. They’re looking for at least three suspects in a blue, four-door Honda sedan. They have the car’s license plate number.
Rep. Butz says this has to stop. It’s not a game.
“Pull that kind of prank on the wrong person who’s armed (and) I think those kids are going to get shot,” Butz said. “There’s going to be a tragedy. It’s a dangerous time to be playing around with guns.”
He urged parents and guardians to intervene in the cases of young people who obviously don’t understand how serious this can be.
The suspects in this case are wanted for third-degree assault, a felony.