Officer released from hospital; one of 2 suspects in custody
June 11, 2009 -- A St.Louis police officer places evidence markers near the corner of North Grand Boulevard and Enright, where a police officer was shot. (David Carson/P-D)By Greg Jonsson
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
UPDATED, 7:30 a.m.
ST. LOUIS -- An off-duty police officer shot in the abdomen after cashing his paycheck Thursday has been released from St. Louis University Hospital. And one of two suspects has been arrested after showing up at a hospital for a gunshot wound, police say.
Police say the suspect was wounded when the officer returned fire.
The officer, a 48-year-old man who has been on the force for 23 years, was shot once in the lower abdomen about 6:30 p.m. Thursday outside the Currency Exchange, at 900 North Grand Boulevard. The officer's name has not been released.
Police confirmed Friday morning that one suspect -- a 17-year-old man -- was arrested late Thursday after he was dropped off at a local hospital about 8 p.m. to be treated for the gunshot wound to his lower back, just above the buttocks. He is in serious condition. The wounded officer identified him as one of the assailants.
St. Louis Police Chief Dan Isom said the officer "did an outstanding job protecting himself and gave a very thorough description of the suspects."
The officer was not in uniform but was carrying his gun when he went to the Currency Exchange to cash his paycheck. On the parking lot, two teens approached him and tried to rob him. One of the teens had a gun.
The officer tried to take cover behind his car and draw his weapon, and one of the teens shot at the officer, Isom said. The officer shot back and the teens ran away, heading east on Enright. The officer chased them for a time before calling police.
Police found a gun they think the teens tossed. The teens also shed clothing as they ran. Police have recovered some of that. Nearby security cameras may have caught the crime on tape, and Isom said detectives would be checking them for clues.
The shooting was on the east side of Grand, just north of Powell Symphony Hall and east of the Veterans Administration Hospital. Isom said that customers coming out of check-cashing businesses can offer a tempting target for robbers. He said the business the officer had used had seen previous holdups of customers.
The check cashing store on the corner features several rows of tellers behind thick plate-glass. According to an employee who declined to giver her name, a man ran into the store after the shooting. "I guess that he ran back in here for cover," said the employee.
The employee herself, though, did not move. "It’s better to stay back here," she said from behind the glass.
Anyone with information about the case is asked to contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS.
Jake Wagman and Kim Bell of the Post-Dispatch staff contributed to this report.