‘Horrifying’ Applebee’s shooting scene described as prosecutor announces more murder charges

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CLAYTON, Mo. – The St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney, Wesley Bell, announced more charges in the deadly shooting at an Applebee’s in St. John Monday night. His office charged Courtney Demond Washington, a St. Ann man, in connection with the triple shooting that claimed the life of a 46-year-old mother, injured her friend, and also injured a Kinloch firefighter.

Prosecutors said the suspect, identified as Courtney Demond Washington, 28, was eating at the restaurant prior to the shooting. He walked outside the Applebee’s and returned moments later with a gun.

Bell grew up near the Applebee’s and has been to the restaurant several times. His office also used to be located near the location. He has made it a point to visit crime scenes during his time as the St. Louis County Prosecutor.

“That scene was nothing less than horrifying,” said Bell.

Washington is now facing six counts of murder in the first degree, two counts of assault, and three counts of armed criminal action. More charges may be coming in this case.

Police say that Washington was acting strangely at the restaurant. Witnesses were alarmed by his actions before the shooting started. He was sitting near the other women who he eventually started shooting at.

Police say that Washington left the restaurant, came back in, and then brushed up against a waitress. Police say that is when Washington turned and shot the first victim. He then turned to walk away. After about three steps he turned back around and shot the second victim sitting in the same booth.

Kimberly Ratliffe-Penton was pronounced dead at the scene. The other woman in the booth, Lakisha French, was rushed to a local hospital. Her injuries were not life-threatening.

Then he walked to the opposite side of the restaurant where he saw Arlydia Bufford, a Kinloch firefighter, wearing a polo shirt with the department’s logo on it. She was also wearing her firefighter training pants. He then fired one shot at her. The wounds indicate that she tried to block the bullet with both of her arms. The shot penetrated her arms before entering the right side of her head.

Bufford was dining with a fire captain after attending an EMT training course, authorities said. That captain is credited with rendering life-saving first aid as Bufford was rushed to a hospital in a police cruiser. She is now listed in critical condition at the hospital.

After the shooting witnesses say that Washington calmly went to his car and drove away. The vehicle that he left the scene in did not belong to him. But, police say he did drive to a location where his vehicle was located.

There were 13 officers were on the scene within minutes. The quick action likely saved two lives. They began surrounded the area and began searching for the suspect. They were able to bring the suspect into custody by the next morning.

Witnesses say they heard five shots. But, police only found three shell casings at the scene.

People at the restaurant knew Washington. St. Ann Police were able to identify him because they recently picked him up for a misdemeanor.

Bell said that there were many people in the Applebee’s but the shooter only fired at women. At this point, the shootings appear to random with nothing to link Washington to three women he allegedly shot. The investigation into this case is still ongoing.

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