Image via SLMPD Periscope
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson briefs media following a deadly police shooting.
An armed carjacking suspect was shot dead today by a St. Louis city police officer during a chaotic chase, police Chief Sam Dotson says.
The man aimed a pistol at the officer, who squeezed off “several rounds” during the late-morning showdown in the JeffVanderLou neighborhood north of Midtown, according to the chief.
Dotson, who cautioned that he has only a preliminary version of the shooting, says cops had been on the lookout for a “distinctive” white car stolen at gunpoint on Monday night. Officers spotted the car about 11:30 a.m. on Tuesday and chased it through the alleys of the north city neighborhood. Along with the driver, there was one passenger in the front and one in the back.
“At several points, the officers believed the suspects were going to bail out of the car,” Dotson told reporters during a news conference held about 90 minutes after the shooting.
Officers caught up to the stolen car in the alley behind the 3200 block of St. Louis Avenue. An officer and both passengers were climbing out of their cars when one of the suspects pointed a gun at the cop, according to Dotson. The officer fired multiple rounds.
The shots hit the man an unknown number of times. He ran about 30 or 40 yards before he collapsed, according to the chief. The man was pronounced dead in the alley. His name wasn't immediately released.
Investigators recovered a gun near the man’s body, Dotson said. The driver sped off and dumped the car about a mile away, police say. He’s still on the run, though the other passenger has been taken into custody.
Dotson says his understanding of the shooting comes from officer statements and an investigation that is still in the early stages. Questioned about rumors that witnesses saw the officer shoot the suspect in the back and plant a gun by him, the chief asked anyone who saw the shooting to speak to prosecutors or police.
“There’s nobody that wants to get to the bottom of this more than I do,” Dotson says.
The officer will be placed on administrative duty and tested for drugs and alcohol as part of the investigation, the chief says.
Update 5:20 p.m.:
Police have released more information about the carjacking that preceded the fatal shooting. A 39-year-old was sitting in a white 2009 Honda Accord about 10:15 p.m. on Monday in the 1400 block of Webster Avenue when a robber in a black hoodie pointed a gun at him and ordered him out of the car. The driver did what he was told, and the gunman hopped in the car and drove away.
The driver, who left his cell phone in the car, was only able to give police a vague description of a suspect in his late teens or early 20s, about 5 foot 9 and 130 pounds. The robber had the hood cinched tightly around his face, the driver told police.
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