04/05/2007

Police fatally shoot man in downtown St. Louis

By Joel Currier
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ST. LOUIS — Police shot and killed a man Tuesday night after he opened fire on two uniformed officers downtown, just outside the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, authorities said.

Two police officers tried to stop the man and two companions about 7 p.m. near Broadway and Locust Street because they looked suspicious, said Police Chief Joe Mokwa. The man was clutching his waistband in a way that suggested he might have been concealing a weapon, police said.

When the officers ordered him to stop, he said "No," and kept walking, Mokwa said. The man turned around and fired once at the officers. He started to walk off again before turning and firing another round of shots at police.

The two officers fired back and hit the man in the head, police said. The other two people - a man and a woman - were taken into custody for questioning. The officers were not injured.

Police recovered the man's handgun from a pool of blood next to the body. The city medical examiner's office was working to identify him Tuesday night, police said. The dead man's companions were in custody and being questioned by police. Their identities were not available.

Police did not identify the two officers, who were placed on administrative leave pending an internal investigation, police said.

Homicide detectives investigated as the man's body lay in a pedestrian plaza near the Federal Reserve Bank, just a few blocks from the Arch grounds, the Edward Jones Dome and America's Center. The St. Louis Cardinals' second home game of the season against the New York Mets started a few minutes after the shooting, about six blocks south.

Bystanders said they heard up to a dozen shots echoing through the high-rise buildings. Vania Macias, 23, who lives in an apartment building in the 300 block of North Broadway, said she was on the phone with a friend when she heard the shots. She said her miniature schnauzer, Leonardo Da Vinci, started whimpering when he heard gunfire.

"He's scared," Macias said, standing outside her building with her leashed dog. "It was really scary because it was really loud."

Copyright 2007 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
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