Second teenager charged as adult in killing of retired St. Louis police sergeant

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Jalynn Garner

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ST. LOUIS – A second teenager has been certified as an adult for the fatal shooting of a retired St. Louis police sergeant.

The St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s Office charged 17-year-old Jalynn Garner with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, and first-degree robbery in connection with Ralph Harper’s death.

According to St. Louis police, the incident occurred on the morning of October 29, 2018 in the 3100 block of Lackland near Tower Grove Park.

Police said Harper was on his way to babysit for a relative when he parked his car around 7:30 a.m. when he was confronted by a gunman. The former officer and the armed suspect exchanged gunfire. Harper was wounded and died at Barnes-Jewish Hospital a couple of hours later. He was 67.

Retired Sergeant Ralph E. Harper

A short time after the shooting, police said a juvenile turned up at the hospital with a gunshot wound to his wrist. That juvenile was later identified as Garner, who’d been dropped off at the hospital by a dark green Honda Pilot. Police located and began pursuing the SUV, which had previously been reported stolen out of Olivette. The SUV eventually crashed into a home on a street near Jefferson Avenue and Interstate 44. Police located the second suspect, Justin Matthews, hiding behind a dumpster near the crash scene.

Earlier this week, Matthews was charged with misdemeanor vehicle tampering and resisting arrest because he was not involved in the robbery or shooting, police said.

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