By Bill Bryan and Denise Hollinshed
St. Louis Post Dispatch
ST. LOUIS — Police said Wednesday that it was miraculous that surprise shots fired at two officers missed from a distance of only several feet as they approached a suspicious-looking man downtown.
Their return fire Tuesday evening hit Daiman Connors, 29, of Swansea, who died on the spot without explaining what appeared to be an unprovoked attack.
He was wanted on a probation violation in a Colorado narcotics case and may have feared arrest, especially because he was carrying a pistol, investigators said.
Police gave this account:
Two officers were on foot, patrolling in the area of Broadway and Locust Street, where there have been reports of car break-ins. Shortly before 7 p.m. the officers approached two men and a woman.
One of the men started to run and fumbled with his waistband as though he was hiding something. He pulled out a .44 caliber pistol and fired nearly point-blank at one of the officers but missed.
He ran and turned and fired more shots, for a total of five. He fell when police gunfire hit him in the head.
No one else was hurt, although the incident was on a major street near downtown attractions such as the Edward Jones Dome and Busch Stadium, where the Cardinals were playing.
The names of the officers were not released.
The dead man's two companions told police that they hadn't known he was carrying a gun. They were released without charge.
Reached by phone on Wednesday, Connors' mother, Jeannette Connors, 57, of Swansea, said her daughter had summoned her to the shooting scene, from which officials told her to go to the medical examiner's office to view her son.
"It was pretty bad," said Jeannette Connors, who said nothing else.
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Man shoots, narrowly misses St. Louis officers at close range