Authorities are trying to track down a man who they claim shot a police officer, in an attack that’s believed to be a planned assassination attempt.
Police Chief Sam Dotson told The St. Louis Post Dispatch “they targeted, they ambushed, they tried to assassinate a police officer.”
Sitting inside his car in uniform, the police officer was shot in the torso. The officer has been identified as a 39-year-old male, according to Fox News, who has served on the force for 16 years.
The officer that was shot spotted two suspicious men walking around the area. Dotson confirms “the officer [didn’t] get out of his car. He [had] no interaction with them or conversation with him.”
After briefly losing sight of the two men, the officer’s car was blindsided by a silver Ford Taurus as it parked directly in front of the police car. The officer could make out four bodies in the car.
Just as quickly as he was able to identify how many people were in this car, the driver got out and fired directly at the officer. The shooter’s face was fully covered with a black bandana, so his identity was not easily revealed.
After being shot by at least one bullet in his torso, the officer remained sitting in his car but returned fire. He believes he hit at least one of the suspects before they sped away from the scene.
While following the suspects’ car down the street, the officer lost the car at a nearby parking garage. The St. Louis police authorities have blocked off several corners and streets where alleged sightings of either the car or the suspects themselves occurred.
Taking place in a neighborhood covered in security cameras, detectives continue to watch surveillance video in hopes of discovering the suspects’ identities.
Even if the shootings were not caught on camera, Jim Whyte, executive director of the Central West End Neighborhood Social Security Initiative, says detectives can still see people walking around the area just before the shootings who could be of help.
Now in a room at the Barnes Jewish Hospital, the officer remains in recovery. The shots did not kill him due to the bullet-proof vest he was wearing under his uniform.
Although the exact identity is still a mystery, law enforcement can confirm that the suspect is an African American male ranging in age from 18-22 and close to 5-foot-8. The officer shot is also African American.
Innocent bystanders have mixed feelings about the incident. One woman, Lyda Krewson, told reporters she is thankful that the officer was not killed and spoke on the integrity of her neighborhood: “It is the best neighborhood, but it can happen anywhere, we’ve seen that.”
Protester, Dhoruba Shakur, held up a homemade sign and chanted “how does it feel?” He later asked police via reporters “how does it feel to be met with the same aggression you inflict on certain communities daily?”
The search for suspects is still underway.
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