A 38-year-old off-duty officer was shot in the arm late Wednesday when he came out of his house to help officers who were returning fire with suspects in a stolen car, police said.
St. Louis Police Department acting Chief Lawrence O’Toole said the car was recognized by the department’s license plate recognition system. The anti-crime team began following the car from downtown St. Louis and put up spike strips at West Florissant and Riverview. The car broke down near Park and Astra.
O’Toole said three suspects got out of the car and opened fire on police while trying to flee the area.
The off-duty officer, an 11-year veteran of the police department, came out of his home to see what the commotion was. He was then shot in the arm but was reported at the hospital as being in stable condition.
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It was not initially clear whether he was hit by an officer or one of the suspects. The off-duty officer did not fire his weapon during the confrontation.
“We don’t know who hit him at this point,” O’Toole said in a late-night press conference. “But that will be come very clear in the investigation.”
Mayor Lyda Krewson was at the hospital just before midnight Wednesday with Chief O’Toole.
“We are here tonight and we are happy the officer is in good condition,” she said. “You know, it’s always a touch-and-go situation — it could have been a lot worse tonight. But we are happy that ... he is in good condition.”
Two weapons were recovered by officers.
“The investigation is continuing,” O’Toole said. “The vehicle was stolen from Maryland Heights on the 15th of this month.”
A 17-year-old suspect was also shot in the ankle and taken to the hospital. A second 17-year-old suspect ran off but was arrested shortly after, O’Toole said. Police were still searching Thursday morning for a third suspect.