Thomas Kinworthy Charged With Murder of St. Louis Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon


Thomas Kinworthy, suspected of killing a St. Louis police officer, was held on Florida arrest warrant. - ST. LOUIS CITY JUSTICE CENTER
  • Thomas Kinworthy, suspected of killing a St. Louis police officer, was held on Florida arrest warrant.

Thomas Kinworthy, a career criminal who was on the run from Florida, has been charged with first-degree murder in the killing of St. Louis police Officer Tamarris Bohannon.

Kinworthy, 43, was arrested on Sunday morning after a nearly twelve-hour standoff with police in the Tower Grove South neighborhood. Charges filed today also include first-degree assault for allegedly shooting a second officer in the leg as well as felony counts of burglary, armed criminal action, resisting arrest, and unlawful possession of a weapon.

"Our heartfelt condolences and prayers are with the family and loved ones of Officer Tamarris Bohannon in their time of loss," St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said today in a news release announcing the charges. "We honor his service and dedication for which he gave the ultimate sacrifice."

In a probable cause statement, police say Bohannon and his partner responded at 5:45 p.m. on Saturday to the 3700 block of Hartford Avenue. A married couple on the block had called in a shooting behind their house, and they were still on the phone with a police dispatcher when Kinworthy let himself into their house, police say.

The ex-con, armed with a black 9mm handgun, ordered them to hang up the phone, and they escaped out of the backdoor. Bohannon and his partner pulled up in the alley where they spoke to the husband before walking toward the front of the house. Kinworthy was watching, and he opened fire through an upstairs window, hitting Bohannon in the head, police say.

Backup officers raced toward the house. Officer Arlando Bailey, who like Bohannon is 29 years old, started to take cover behind a vehicle when Kinworthy shot him in the leg, according to the probable cause statement. Other officers were able to pull Bohannon and Bailey out of the line of fire, load them into patrol cars and race them to city hospitals.

Meanwhile, SWAT and hostage negotiation unit officers hurried to Hartford. Additional officers closed off roads in a two-block radius around the house, stretching across South Grand Boulevard to the east. Through the night, they tried to coax Kinworthy out of the house, but he refused.

St. Louis Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon died after being shot on Saturday. - COURTESY ST. LOUIS POLICE
  • St. Louis Police Officer Tamarris Bohannon died after being shot on Saturday.

Kinworthy has been arrested numerous times during the past twenty-plus years for charges that have included drugs, weapons, and violence. In 1998, he fired on a stranger in a Mustang during a road rage incident, blowing off three of the man's fingers, according to a story at the time in the Orlando Sentinel.

He was wanted in Brevard County, Florida, in a sexual assault case but didn't show up for court and fled the state to Missouri. In court records, he's listed as living in Owensville, about 90 minutes southwest of St. Louis, but he's bounced around between Missouri and Florida during the past two decades, public records show.

On Hartford Street, SWAT officers stormed into the house shortly before 5 a.m. on Sunday. They found Kinworthy — and the 9mm — in an upstairs bathroom and took him into custody, according to the probable cause statement.

He was originally held on a warrant out of Florida, but the new charges in Bohannon's killing will ensure that he remains in St. Louis for the foreseeable future. He is being held without bail.

After the shooting, Bailey was treated for his leg wound and released. Bohannon was still alive when he was brought to St. Louis University Hospital, but it was obvious his condition was dire. City police Chief John Hayden told reporters on Saturday night outside the hospital that Bohannon, whose nickname was Bo, was "very critically wounded." The officer survived the night but died on Sunday. He had been on the force for less than four years. He was married with three children.

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