NORTH ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. — A twenty year old Alton woman is dead after suffering a gunshot wound while in police custody. The dead woman’s family says she managed to get the gun away from an Alton police officer and kill herself. Police have not confirmed or denied any details from the Wednesday morning shooting.
It happened on the service road to Missouri Highway 367 near Dunn Road. 20 year old Stephanie Hicks was being driving by that officer to BJC Christian Hospital on what police referred to as a crisis intervention.
Family members say Hicks has had a history of mental problems, and was known to Alton Police. Her mother says the young woman was walking across the Alton Bridge; on the way to seek help herself, when the Alton officer, a thirteen year veteran, picked her up. Police confirm he was driving her to the hospital when the shooting happened.
Outside Alton Police Headquarters, Robbin Hicks, the girl’s mother, shared what details she says police had given her.
"She was walking across the bridge to go to the hospital to check herself in because she knew she needed the help. And the Alton police were transporting her and she grabbed their gun and she did it," the distraught mother said as she choked back tears.
The tears turned to anger as she began raising questions about how her daughter, just 5’1" and under 100 pounds, managed to get her hands on the weapon.
"She got that gun and there’s no way she should have got that gun," Hicks told us, "and I’m angry, and I’m pissed, and this is not right!"
The woman’s grandmother agreed.
"How did that little girl get that gun?" Joan Singleton demanded. "How?! Tell me how she could just get a gun from a police officer?"
To this point police have not said anything beyond a statement given shortly after the 9:05am incident.
"We don’t know exactly what happened in that car just yet," Alton Police Chief David Hayes told reporters. "But the St. Louis County Police are interviewing my officer and I’m sure those details will be determined later during that interview."
St. Louis County Police are handling the investigation into the shooting. Officer Rick Eckhard told reporters that no new information would be released until the prosecutor’s office had been provided with details. That’s a process he said would take at least until Thursday, if not longer.
Chief Hayes used the word "distraught" in describing how his officer was coping with the Wednesday morning incident.
It’s a feeling shared by Hicks’ family.
"That’s my baby," Robbin Hicks said tearfully. "I just know she was a good, good kid."
Reprinted with permission from Fox2now.com