ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – To commemorate the end of summer before school started Monday, a West County teen and his girlfriend were driving to visit the Gateway Arch Sunday afternoon. Their trip was cut short around 2:30 p.m., where I-44 and I-55 meet.
“Someone came up on the passenger side and rolled their window down and started waving a gun at them, and my son sped up,” the victim’s mom said. The family asked to not be identified.
When the teen sped up, the suspect reportedly fired a shot, hitting the rear passenger side of the teen’s car and narrowly missing his girlfriend in the passenger seat.
“If it would have been two inches higher, it would have hit the back of her neck,” the driver’s mom said.
The bullet shattered the window’s glass, hit the back side of the passenger seat, bounced off the backseat and was later found in the trunk of the car.
“Our lives could have changed in seconds,” the mom said. “It was a very, very close, very close call, I was hysterical to be quite honest with you, I lost it.”
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department is investigating the incident.
“The victim had further stated there was no altercation, road rage, or any other incident that occurred between the two vehicles to bring about this incident. However, in situations like this, the victim was correct to exit the highway as soon as possible in order to get to safety to contact this Department,” a police spokesperson said in an email Monday. “Victims should never follow or trail the suspect vehicle in these situations. Victims should always pull over to call 911 once they are at a safe location, and provide the dispatcher as much detailed information as possible about the suspect and/or suspect vehicle.”
The victim’s mom said it’s sad to see the place she grew up hanging out with friends, with violence like this.
“I’m not saying the city’s never been a great place, but it’s never been the way it is now,” she said it makes her want to stay away from the city. “I don’t want to go to a ball game, I don’t want to go to anything that has to do with the city.”
But she wants something to change.
“I understand there’s police shortages,” she said. “If we have to cut certain things to keep people alive, then cut it, find ways to make it work. He was on the highway, for God’s sake. Get the highway patrol sitting out there.”
She said her son and his girlfriend were shaken up after the incident.
Now, as her teen goes back to school, it’s complete with a newfound appreciation for the annual tradition.
“They were able to go to school today, they had a good first day, thankful for that more than anything, cars can be fixed but people can’t,” she said.