July 05, 2005
Mo. police officer is shot, killed many departments search for suspect
Officer Down: William McEntee - [Kirkwood, Missouri]
Update: Suspect of Kirkwood Sgt.'s murder surrenders
Additional Info: Sgt. McEntee had been with the Kirkwood Police Department for 24 years. He leaves behind a wife and three children.
Cause of Death: Sgt. McEntee was responding to a fireworks disturbance when a man approached him making "bizarre statements" and shot him several times. Sgt. McEntee died later of his injuries.
Date of Incident: July 5, 2005
Suspect Info: Police are looking for Kevin Johnson, an African-American, 19-years-old, 5'7" 160lbs. He was last seen wearing blue shorts and a red sweat shirt. He is said to be armed and dangerous.
By JIM SALTER
KIRKWOOD, Mo. - For Sgt. William McEntee, it was as routine a call as police get this time of year - someone was shooting fireworks the day after the Fourth of July.
But when the 43-year-old father of three went to investigate around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday, he was ambushed, police said. A gunman, identified by police as 19-year-old Kevin Johnson, shot the officer in the head. He died a few hours later.
"He was responding to a call that had absolutely nothing to do with the shooting," Police Chief Jack Plummer said. "Our man was ambushed."
On Wednesday, police in this mostly well-to-do St. Louis suburb faced the difficult task of both dealing with their own grief and trying to track down a murder suspect. Police Capt. Diane Scanga said officers were going about their business, solemn but resolute.
"They're dealing with it like anyone would deal with the loss of a family member," Scanga said.
Plummer said the gunman approached McEntee and made some "bizarre statements" before shooting him several times. An unnamed boy was also injured, and was in stable condition. No details about the boy were released.
Police were saying little else about the incident except that McEntee was shot while in his car.
Police said Johnson frequented the neighborhood where the shooting took place. A St. Louis County SWAT team began searching homes and cars in the neighborhood Tuesday night. Soon after the shooting, several officers stood behind a patrol car with their guns drawn, pointing toward a home in the neighborhood. But no one was captured there.
Though Johnson was still missing, KSDK-TV on Wednesday said the white Ford Explorer the suspect was driving was found near an apartment complex in north St. Louis County.
McEntee was a married father of three children ages 7, 10 and 13, police said. The 6-foot-4-inch officer coached his children's soccer teams. His brother and cousin are police officers for the city of St. Louis.
McEntee had been with the department since 1986 and was the first police officer to be fatally shot in modern times in Kirkwood, Plummer said. Police said a town marshal was killed in the 1800s.
A police officer who declined to give his name said a brother of Johnson died earlier Tuesday due to illness. That officer said the death of Johnson's brother "could have played a role" in the shooting, but he declined to elaborate.
By midday, dozens of flowers, balloons and notes adorned the lawn of the Kirkwood police department. Brenda Johnson, who is not related to Kevin Johnson, said she was concerned that the suspect was at large. But mostly, she was grieving the loss of the officer, whom she called a friend.
"He was real kind, gentle, always cared for people," Johnson said after leaving a balloon and flower arrangement. "He was just the greatest guy I ever knew."
Funeral arrangements were incomplete. In addition to his children, McEntee is survived by his wife, Mary.
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