ST. LOUIS – The man who police say shot two St. Louis city police officers is in custody Sunday morning after a stand-off that lasted some 11 to 12 hours.
One of those officers was critically hurt and is fighting for his life.
Chief Hayden says officers responded to a call for a shooting just before 6 p.m. Saturday evening, two blocks south of Tower Grove Park off Grand Boulevard. As officers were looking for a victim the suspect opened fire on the officers from inside of a home on the 3700 block of Hartford Street.
The suspect apparently went into the home, which was not his, and ordered a couple out at gunpoint prior to the shooting involving the officers.
We spoke with the owners of the home on Hartford where the suspect barricaded himself during the lengthy stand-off with police.
Steve and Mimi Haag say they heard a man yell in the alley behind their home that he had been shot about 5:30-5:45 p.m. Saturday evening. They say they were familiar with the man because he frequents the neighborhood looking through dumpsters.
Mimi tells us she saw the man had been grazed by a bullet and called police. Meanwhile, Steve says he went to the front of the home and came face to face with the suspect armed with a gun inside the house. Steve and Mimi say their door was unlocked because they were having their pastor over for dinner.
Mimi says the suspect told her to put down the phone. She did and she and her husband went out the back of the home and the entire frightening episode unfolded from there.
St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden says the suspect shot both officers from inside the Haag’s home after police responded to the original shooting call.
Hayden says as officers were looking for the shooting victim the suspect opened fire hitting one of the officers in the head, critically wounding him. As police were helping the officer who was hit, the second officer was shot in the leg.
After that, a standoff started between police and the suspect that lasted for hours until the suspect was arrested.
The critically hurt officer was rushed to SLU Hospital where he remains this morning after undergoing surgery. Police said he is a 29-year-old man who has been on the police force for over 3.5 years. “He is still in grave condition at the hospital,” as of noon Sunday.
The other officer went to Barnes for treatment of what is described as a non-life-threatening injury to his leg. Police said this officer is a 30-year-old man with less than six months of experience on the police force. As of noon Sunday he has been released from the hospital.
The Haag’s and another neighbor tell us police shot what appears to be tear gas into their home. Eventually, the suspect came out and was arrested. Police said the suspect is a 43-year-old man.
The names of the officers and the suspect have not been released yet.
Sunday morning, St. Louis Police were seen entering the hospital and say unofficially that the officer was breathing on his own, but his condition is still very serious.
St. Louis Mayor Lyda Krewson was also spotted walking out of the hospital early Sunday morning.
Meanwhile, SLU Hospital is in the midst of transferring over to their new facility on Sunday starting with their emergency room at 6 AM.
The officer in the fight for his life has been on the force for 3.5 years and has young children. The other officer has been on the force just less than a year.
Chief Hayden says these two men were the seventh and eighth Saint Louis city police officers to be shot in the line of duty since June 1.