Mo. officer shot in head now breathing on his own, opened his eyes

Officer Ryan O'Connor has been in a long battle for his life after being shot in the head by a handcuffed suspect

By Nassim Benchaabane
St. Louis Post-Dispatch

ARNOLD, Mo. — After a nearly monthlong battle for his life since being shot in the back of the head by a handcuffed suspect, Officer Ryan O’Connor has opened his eyes and is breathing on his own, the Arnold Police Department said Thursday night.

O’Connor, 44, was shot by a burglary suspect riding in the back of his police SUV on Dec. 5. Police say Chad Klahs, 29, of Arnold shot O’Connor before fatally shooting himself, all while handcuffed.

The shooting was on the parking lot of police headquarters, just yards from the police sally port where O’Connor was heading with Klahs.

O’Connor survived the five-hour surgery that followed but in the weeks since continued to receive medical treatment that included more surgeries and a medically induced coma.

Arnold police posted a short update on Facebook on Thursday night that it said came from O’Connor’s family.


Friends! We are absolutely thrilled and elated to post this update on Ryan directly from the O'Connor family! "Ryan...

Posted by Arnold MO Police Department on Thursday, January 4, 2018

“Ryan has made some small but significant improvements,” the posting says. “He is breathing on his own and the ventilator has been removed. He also gave us a great surprise by opening his pretty blue eyes.

“We are so pleased with the progress he has made in the past week and welcome and appreciate your continued thoughts, prayers and support.”

O’Connor is a married father of four boys, ages 4, 6, 11 and 17. He is the son of former Maryland Heights Police Chief Tom O’Connor. The younger O’Connor had been with Arnold about three years and had previously worked in St. Louis County and Ferguson, police said.

Arnold police have said O’Connor’s family has approved three ways to send donations: a GoFundMe page, in person at Fortune Bank in Arnold and to BackStoppers Inc., made in O’Connor’s name.

©2018 the St. Louis Post-Dispatch

McClatchy-Tribune News Service

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