Officer kills Mo. suspect who wounded partner

By Kim Bell
St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
Copyright 2006 St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Inc.
All Rights Reserved 

A St. Louis police officer was shot in the head late Thursday in a shootout that left one man dead near the intersection of St. Louis and Vandeventer avenues.

The officer was rushed by his partner to Barnes-Jewish Hospital where he was able to walk into the emergency room with the help of another.

"The bullet is still in his head but the injuries are not life-threatening," St. Louis Police Chief Joe Mokwa said at the hospital Thursday night. "He is capable of speaking."

The officer, 42, is an 18-year veteran of the department, Mokwa said. His name was being withheld.

The unidentified suspect, a man believed to be in his early 20s, was shot and killed by the injured officer's partner, Mokwa said. The suspect was dead at the scene.

Mokwa gave this account of the incident:

Two officers with the Mobile Reserve Unit went to the Greater Ville neighborhood Thursday night as part of a targeted campaign to crack down on violent crime in the area.

About 10:20 p.m., the two officers were talking to a pedestrian in the 3900 block of St. Louis Avenue when the man became enraged, punched an officer in the face and ran.

As they tried to catch the man, the police officers were separated -- the one who had been punched ran after the suspect; his partner joined the chase from his patrol car. The officer in the patrol car heard several shots coming from a nearby alley. He drove into the alley, saw the suspect firing shots and hit the suspect with his car. His partner was on the ground with a gunshot wound to the head.

After being struck by the car, the suspect kept firing -- this time, at the officer in the car. That officer returned fire, hitting and killing the suspect. He then put his partner in the patrol car and rushed him to the hospital.

Police recovered a .40-caliber handgun in the alley.

Homicide detectives, who investigate all shootings in which an officer is involved, were at the scene of the shooting late Thursday night.

The incident was the second shooting of an officer with the Mobile Reserve unit this year.

In February, Officer Shawn Barnes, 31, was shot through the arm while serving a search warrant at a home in the 1100 block of Redd Foxx Lane. A resident of the house, Mark Jones, 31, was killed after police returned fire.

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