St. Charles County Police say the suspect was traveling from the west coast to the east coast with a "large quantity of narcotics."
What started as a traffic stop early this morning in Wentzville ended with a man dead. Police say two officers pulled over two men and a woman in an SUV for speeding just after 2 a.m. at a BP gas station.
St. Charles County police Chief Kurt Frisz said in a press conference Thursday morning that 22-year-old Johan Quintero from Greenville, South Carolina, stepped out of the backseat of the car and began to reach for something in his waistband, which police later said was a gun.
Frisz said there was a brief struggle between Quintero and an officer before Quintero pulled out his gun. The officer also drew his gun and shot Quintero multiple times, according to the chief.
“It all unfolded very quickly,” Frisz said. “I think our officer reverted to his training, and it paid off well for him. I think there’s no doubt that this individual intended to shoot our police officer.”
Police said in a statement
that the officers "immediately rendered first aid" until emergency medical services arrived, but Quintero died at the scene. The other two in the car were arrested without a struggle. Police say officers discovered a “large quantity of narcotics they were transporting” and another gun in the car. Frisz said it appears the drugs are marijuana.
The gas station where the shooting took place has video camera footage and it is currently being reviewed by the department’s investigators. Frisz said they won’t be releasing the video at this time and no body camera footage exists, as St. Charles County police haven’t started wearing them yet. The officers are expected to begin wearing body cams next month.
Frisz said warrants are being applied for the driver and front-seat passenger, but they have not been charged at this time. He added that investigators believe the trio was traveling from the West Coast to the East Coast. Charges may include possession of controlled substances and may occur at the state or federal level.
Frisz also told reporters that two of the three people in the car had “extensive criminal history,” which included prior drug charges and other felony convictions.
The officer is a fifteen-year veteran of the department who also is a firearm instructor for the training team at the firing range. He and the other officer on the scene were not injured. The shooting “brings home the reality of the danger police officers face,” according to Frisz.
“Lots of traffic stops are ‘routine,’” Frisz said. “But, they can turn to this right away.”
Police were conducting a search on the SUV as the press conference took place. The police department’s Bureau of Criminal Investigations is handling the ongoing investigation. This marks the second time St. Charles County police have killed someone this year, with the first shooting taking place in March
Follow Jenna on Twitter at @writesjenna. Email the author at firstname.lastname@example.org
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