Ste. Genevieve officer out of surgery, remains hospitalized after firebomb attack


STE. GENEVIEVE, Mo. – A Ste. Genevieve Police officer was in surgery for hours Monday following an attack that left him with second- and third-degree burns.

Pete Unverferth was airlifted to the hospital last week after a suspect lit a Molotov cocktail and threw at him.

Unverferth, 36, was responding to a noise complaint call. The suspect, Tyson Heise, 34, has been charged with knowingly injuring the officer. He is in custody.

“There are no Mayberry RFDs anymore. This is a 4,500-person community where this happened. And it can happen anywhere,” Ste. Genevieve Police Chief Eric Bennett said.

The firebomb shattered on Officer Unverferth’s arm. He was also burned on his hands, torso, legs, and thighs, Bennett said.

“We’re so thankful that it didn’t get into his face or his lungs. I mean, we just thank God for that,” he said.

The incident hits close to home.

Officer Unverferth is well known in Ste. Genevieve, as a husband, father of three children, and proud member of the department.

“He was our DARE officer for a number of years. Has a great rapport with the school, with the kids. Just with the community,” Chief Bennett said.

Unverferth’s family and department quickly learned that they are not alone.

“I can’t tell you how many times his wife has become just overwhelmed with the support and how thankful she is for all the help,” his chief said. “Obviously they don’t want to be in this situation. But I know that all the prayers, are important to them, and the support. They’re just overwhelmed with the support they’ve gotten.”

BackStoppers announced that it would help with medical expenses and other costs. The organization helps support families of first responders who have been killed or seriously injured in the line of duty.

The support doesn’t end there. Billboards can now be seen in Ste. Genevieve, Jackson, and Perryville.

“Just asking for prayers, for Officer Pete,” Bennett said.

In addition to prayers, the community can send donations to the officer’s family to assist with his recovery:

Donations to Support Injured Ste. Genevieve Officer
First State Community Bank
Donations “In Benefit to Officer Pete Unverferth”

Copyright 2021 Nexstar Media Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

About FOX 2 News

FOX 2 and KPLR 11 in St. Louis cover the news in Missouri and Illinois. There are over 68 hours of live news and local programming on-air each week. Our website and live video streams operate 24/7. Download our apps for alerts and follow us on social media for updates in your feed.

President Harry Truman said: “It is amazing what you can accomplish if you do not care who gets the credit.” That spirit is alive and well at Fox 2. Our teamwork is on display each and every day.

Our news slogan is: “Coverage You Can Count On.” We quite frankly are too busy to worry about who gets the credit. Our main concern is serving the viewer.

We go where the stories take us. Whether it be Washington, D.C when a Belleville man opened fire during a congressional baseball game practice or to Puerto Rico where local Ameren crews restored power after more than 5 months in the dark.

Coverage You Can Count On means “Waking up your Day” with our top-rated morning show. From 4:00 am-10:00 am we are leading the way with breaking news. But our early morning crew also knows how to have some fun! Our strong commitment to the communities we serve is highlighted with our Friday neighborhood shows.

Our investigative unit consists of three reporters. Elliott Davis focuses on government waste, Chris Hayes is our investigative reporter, and Mike Colombo is our consumer reporter. They work in unison with the news department by sharing resources and ideas.

We continue to cover breaking news aggressively and relied on our seasoned journalists to make a difference with the stories we covered. The shooting of Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Connor is just one example of that. Jasmine Huda was the only reporter who had exclusive access to the O’Connor family during his amazing rehabilitation in Colorado.

Last, but certainly not least, FOX 2 and KPLR 11 are committed to covering local politics. We host debates among candidates and have the most extensive presidential election coverage. Our commitment to politics isn’t just during an election year. We produce two political shows that air every weekend.


Latest News

More News