ST. LOUIS (AP) - A suspect was in stable condition but expected to survive after being shot Monday during a gun battle with St. Louis police that drew several protesters to the scene.
Police Chief Sam Dotson said a female officer responded when OnStar located a stolen car that was parked in north St. Louis. The officer saw two men near the car acting suspiciously and called for backup, Dotson said.
One of the men pulled a gun, pointed it at the three officers and yelled, “I’m going to kill you,” the chief said.
The gun misfired and a foot chase began through alleys and gangways. Eventually, Dotson said, the suspect was able to get his gun to work and fired several shots. All three officers returned fire.
The suspect, believed to be in his early 40s, was hit about two blocks from where the chase began. Dotson did not have specific details about the suspect’s injuries but said they were not life-threatening. He was hospitalized in stable condition at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, where a large number of officers stood watch near the emergency room entrance.
About 100 people gathered at the shooting scene within a couple of hours, some chanting, “Hey, he, ho, ho, these killer cops have got to go.”
Dotson said his officers had no choice but to act as they did and began shooting only after the suspect shot at them. The suspect was black. The female officer was black, and the other two officers were a black man and a white man.
St. Louis police have been involved in several shootings involving black suspects since August, when 18-year-old Michael Brown, who was black and unarmed, was fatally shot by officer Darren Wilson in neighboring Ferguson. A grand jury and the U.S. Department of Justice cleared officer Darren Wilson of wrongdoing.
The latest incident in St. Louis also comes amid unrest in Baltimore in the wake of the death of Freddie Gray, who died after suffering a severe spinal injury in police custody.
“In the world that we live in people are skeptical,” Dotson said. “They want to know the truth.”
A gun believed to be the suspect’s, a semi-automatic pistol, was recovered, Dotson said. The man was wanted for four armed robberies that occurred over the past 3-4 weeks, the chief said. His name was not immediately released.
At one point, a pickup truck drove up to the police line. A man got out and told police the suspect was his brother. Officers told him the suspect was alive and hospitalized. The man hurriedly drove away without talking to reporters or protesters who tried to console him.
The second suspect is still at large, and is likely armed, Dotson said.
Yvette Harris, one of the protesters at the scene, expressed skepticism about the police version of events.
“It’s not OK to kill our kids,” Harris said. “We as mothers are suffering.”
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