Trigger-Happy St. Louis Cop Who Just Shot a Cadet Previously Shot Murder Victim's Mom


Peggy Cobb with King less than two months after a St. Louis cop shot her in the leg. - DOYLE  MURPHY
  • Peggy Cobb with King less than two months after a St. Louis cop shot her in the leg.

Spooked by a pit bull on Saturday, a St. Louis cop opened fire on the dog — only to accidentally shoot a 29-year-old police recruit in the wrist.

Not exactly a great look. And it wasn't the first time the officer had done something like this, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The paper, citing sources, identified the dog-fearing cop as Officer Lavell Bell, a six-year veteran, who reportedly shot the mother of a murder victim in 2015 while firing at her dead son's dog.

"I don't think he should have got his job back in the first place," the mother, Peggy Cobb, tells the Riverfront Times.

(For the record, police have refused to identify the officer or confirm he was involved in both incidents.)

Cobb and her family had already been distraught on the afternoon of October 29, 2015. Her oldest son, James Cobb Jr., and his best friend Haris Hajdarevic had been gunned down the night before in front of the family's house in Bevo Mill. A prosecutor would later describe the twin killings as an "ambush."

As our 2016 cover story about the case detailed, James Cobb Jr. had been in a custody battle with his ex-girlfriend over their baby son, and the shooter was her new boyfriend. Less than 24 hours after the double murder, police arrived with child services workers to pick up the baby while custody was sorted out.

See Also: Rey Hernandez Guilty in Murders of James Cobb Jr. and Haris Hajdarevic

When they arrived, James Cobb Jr.'s dog, King, hopped a baby gate and barked at officers. One of the cops — who's now been identified as Bell, according to the Post-Dispatch — pulled his gun and squeezed off an errant round that slammed directly into Peggy Cobb's shin.

Police at the time claimed King "lunged" at the officer. Peggy Cobb says that's absolutely not true, insisting the dog only barked at the strangers.

"I was standing right there," she says. "I'm the one who got shot." And King, she points out, never bit the officer, even though the bullet missed him.

Peggy Cobb was stunned when she read the Post-Dispatch article identifying Bell as the common link between the 2015 incident and Saturday's shooting. She says she doesn't understand how an officer, with all firearms training required for the job, could still be firing wildly at dogs nearly three years after she was shot.

Haris Hajdarevic, left, and James Cobb Jr. were close friends who were shot to death in 2015. - FACEBOOK
  • Haris Hajdarevic, left, and James Cobb Jr. were close friends who were shot to death in 2015.

"He does not need to be an officer," she says, adding, "How do you get your job back when you shoot somebody in their home?"

Cobb is still planning to sue the department. She's had two surgeries on her leg and says doctors may recommend more, although she's leery of undergoing another operation.

"I'll always have pain in my leg forever," she says.

Police say the investigation into the 2015 shooting was closed as an "accidental injury," and the case was not reviewed by the Circuit Attorney's Office.

Saturday's shooting of the recruit is still under investigation. Police say officers were responding to a disturbance in the Carondelet neighborhood. They were reportedly met at the door by a woman with a pit bull.

The officer shot the dog, but also hit the cadet. He had a familiar explanation — the dog lunged at him.

We welcome tips and feedback. Email the author at or follow on Twitter at @DoyleMurphy.
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