Officer dragged and bystander hit before suspect rams car into St. Clair Square Mall

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FAIRVIEW HEIGHTS, Ill. - A Fairview Heights police officer and an innocent bystander were hurt Thursday morning after the officer confronted someone getting into a stolen car at St. Clair Square Mall.

A 30-year-old officer noticed a red Chevy Monte Carlo that was parked next to the sidewalk outside of Dillards with its hazard lights on at around 10:45 a.m. He ran the plates and discovered that the vehicle was reported stolen from St. Genevieve County. He waited for the suspected car thief to return to the vehicle.

The officer confronted a 20-year-old man from St. Louis when he approached the stolen vehicle. The suspect then tried to speed away in the car with the officer partially inside the vehicle. The vehicle struck a bystander in the parking lot before crashing into an exterior at JCPenney.

The suspect ran back into the mall but was eventually taken into custody by other Fairview Heights police officers.

Deanna Grimmig from Belleville was shopping when the arrest took place.

"All I saw, through the corner window, that they tackled him," she said. "It's just sad that people resort to violence or whatever he was doing that he feels he has to do that."

The entire incident left shoppers a little shaken.

"Very scary, yeah it is," said shopper Irene Evgenides. "I mean, you just don't know what's going to happen."

The 30-year-old officer did go to the hospital but has already been released. The bystander did not require medical treatment.

Police said the suspect has an active warrant for auto theft in St. Louis County. Police also located a handgun a search of the stolen vehicle.

At this point, the suspect's name hasn't been released and official charges for this incident have not yet been filed.

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