Brad Hasquin remembers Blake Snyder’s smile.
“He was smiling all the time and was a happy-go-lucky kid,” Hasquin said of Snyder, a 2001 Alton High School graduate. “He made something of himself and decided to give back. That’s awesome that he became a police officer. It’s unfortunate that he paid the ultimate price for it.”
Snyder, 33, died in an early morning shootout Thursday in south St. Louis County. Snyder served St. Louis County for four years. He leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son. St. Louis County Police said Snyder resided in Illinois at the time of his death, although a spokesman didn’t know which city.
According to the St. Louis County Police Department, Snyder responded to a call for a disturbance at 5:06 a.m. in the 10700 block of Arno Drive while working in the Affton Southwest Precinct. Almost immediately upon the Snyder’s arrival, a suspect in the disturbance opened fire and hit Snyder. A second officer at the scene returned fire and struck the subject.
Snyder was hit once in the chin and died later in the morning at an area hospital. St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar in a press conference said “it was an immediately fatal wound.”
Police later arrested 18-year-old Trenton Forster, who lived in south St. Louis County. Belmar said Forster was shot several times and was in critical condition at an area hospital.
Forster was charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action Thursday afternoon. Police said Forster had been in a relationship with a girl who resided in the house.
Hasquin was an assistant football coach at Alton when Snyder went to high school there. He said that Snyder was primarily a soccer player, but decided to help out the football team as its kicker.
“He helped us out quite a bit,” said Hasquin, who currently serves as an assistant football coach at Granite City.
Hasquin said Snyder grew up in Godfrey.
Police asked that donations to support Snyder’s family be made through the BackStoppers organization. They said there will be no other sanctioned efforts to solicit donations, such as through crowd-funding websites.
Benjamin Granda, a spokesman for the St. Louis County Police, said this is the first line-of-duty death for the St. Louis County Police Department since the death of Sgt. Richard Weinhold on Oct. 31, 2000.
Snyder has served on the board of directors at Riverbend Family Ministries, a group of non-profit organizations that serves the Alton area.