by Sam Levin
Update, 10:10 p.m.: St. Louis metro police officials have just identified the three victims and shooter in the murder-suicide incident inside a Cherokee Street healthcare facility this afternoon.
Police say that, at around 1:30 p.m. today, Ahmed Dirir, a 59-year old man who lived on Carr Street in the Columbus Square neighborhood, shot and killed three employees inside A K Home Healthcare (at 2715 Cherokee Street), a business which officials believe he owned. Then, he turned the gun on himself, the department says. Police found the weapon next to him.
Officials identified the three victims this evening: Khadra Muse, a 44-year old woman who lived in Olivette; Seaeed Abdulla, a 29-year old man who lived in downtown St. Louis; and Bernice Solomon-Redd, a 54-year-old woman who lived in East St. Louis, Illinois.
Our original coverage of the shooting is below.
Update, 5:08 p.m.: A murder-suicide inside a health care business on Cherokee Street left four people dead today, according to St. Louis police. A male gunman who has not yet been identified appears to have killed one other adult male and two adult females before killing himself inside the Cherokee Place Business Incubator at 2715 Cherokee Street.
Here's video from the SLMPD press conference via KMOV (Channel 4):
St. Louis Police Captain Michael Sack, commander of crimes against persons and property, says that officers received a call for a shooting at around 1:30 p.m.
When police arrived to the building -- which has multiple businesses on different floors -- they found "four victims lying inside the office." They appeared to be in their 40s and 50s, he says.
After reviewing surveillance video, he says, it was clear that this was a murder-suicide. The weapon, a semi-automatic handgun, was recovered on the scene. He says it appears that there was some sort of "brief" argument at this home health care business and that the shooter may be an owner. He says there weren't any eye-witnesses to the shooting and that the 911 call came from someone inside the building, but not in that office.
Sack says the business has been located in the property for about two years.
Daily RFT spoke with Anne McCullough, liaison for the Cherokee Station Business Association, this afternoon. She rushed to the street after news broke about the shooting.
"The community is all pulling together," she says. "It's such a tight knit group of people.... We are trying to hold everyone together."
As of this afternoon, she says Cherokee Street was crowded with onlookers and many cops and news reporters.
She says, "There are very active neighborhood organizations that are looking out for each other."
McCullough says the property where the incubator is located is an old building that has been a community space for a long time in different forms. She says it was once a movie theater and a daycare center at another time and now is more of an office space used by roughly ten different groups.
She adds of today's shooting, "It's an isolated incident. People are still going to be on the street. It's a strong community. I don't want this to discourage people from coming down to Cherokee Street."
STL-Style, a popular Cherokee Street business, just posted this message on Facebook as well:
We are stricken with grief in wake of the tragic events that occurred on our beloved Cherokee Street this afternoon. Our hearts go out to the victims and their families. We remain steadfastly committed to Cherokee Street and unite in solidarity with our friends and neighbors here in hopes of a better tomorrow. We love you, Cherokee Street.
Here's the official summary SLMPD sent out this evening:
Today, at 1:29 p.m., officers responded to a call for "shots fired" at 2715 Cherokee St., the Cherokee Place Business Incubator, which houses several other businesses within its structure. Upon arrival, officers located a scene inside of a first floor business, A K Home Health Care, L.L.C, with 4 victims, 2 adult males and 2 adult females, deceased. Investigation revealed there were no witnesses to the incident, but others inside of the businesses within the building heard gunshots. There is surveillance video that shows a male in an apparent verbal dispute, and shortly thereafter, gunshots are shown penetrating a wall inside of the business. The male suspect is believed to be the owner of the business, and the other three victims are believed to be employees. The surveillance video also shows that no one had entered or exited the business other than the 4 deceased, which led investigators to determine this incident to be a murder/suicide. The weapon was recovered at the scene next to the suspect. As next of kin is notified for each of the deceased, we will release their names and ages to the media.
Continue below for our original coverage with more tweets from the crime scene.
Update 3:35 p.m. Officials are now saying the gunman was the owner of a healthcare business on Cherokee Street. The victims were apparently employees he'd been arguing with.
Update 3:23 p.m.Police are now saying it was a murder-suicide. The shooter and all three victims are deceased. More information as it develops.
Four people died in a shooting on Cherokee Street today, according to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. Police confirmed just now that four adults -- two male and two female -- died at the scene of the crime on the 2700 block of Cherokee Street. Continue below for our original coverage.
Original post: Early news reports suggest that the incident occurred inside the Cherokee Place Business Incubator.
It's unclear if a suspect has been apprehended yet. Police are expected to give an update at the scene of the crime shortly.
For now, here are some tweets from St. Louis officials and reporters on the scene:
. @slmpd Capt. Sack says it appears gunman had an argument w/3 ppl inside Cherokee healthcare biz. Gunman was owner. Other 3 were employees.— Maggie Crane (@newsformaggie) June 13, 2013
Officers have determined that the incident on Cherokee is a murder/suicide. The shooter & 3 victims are deceased.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) June 13, 2013
There are 4 adult victims, 2 male and 2 female, confirmed dead at a scene of a shooting in the 2700 block of Cherokee.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) June 13, 2013
Talking to police commanders about shootings on Cherokee. Information when the have it. #fgs— MayorSlay.com (@MayorSlay) June 13, 2013
Four dead on Cherokee. Two adult males, two adult females. This from STL PD. No one taken into custody.— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) June 13, 2013
Word on Cherokee is multiple people are dead following a shooting. twitter.com/AllisonBlood/s...— Allison Blood (@AllisonBlood) June 13, 2013
Police activity reported at a business on the 2700 block of Cherokee St. Witness reports up to half a dozen gunshots. twitter.com/ksdknews/statu...— KSDK NewsChannel 5 (@ksdknews) June 13, 2013
Multiple People Shot on Cherokee Street in St. Louis - bit.ly/10fZbX1— FOX2now (@FOX2now) June 13, 2013
Check back for updates.