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St. Louis officer shot, 2 more injured during mental health welfare check

A 71-year-old man pulled out a handgun hidden inside his clothing and opened fire, striking the officer multiple times


Associated Press

ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis police officer was shot and wounded Friday afternoon during a welfare check for a man whose relatives were concerned about his mental health, law enforcement officials said.

The 44-year-old officer suffered multiple gunshot wounds to his arm and shoulders but was conscious and alert, St. Louis Police Chief Robert Tracy said at a news conference Friday evening outside the hospital where the 15-year veteran was being treated.

“These injuries could have been worse,” Tracy said. “And thank God they weren’t.”

The shooting unfolded around 4:30 p.m. at an apartment complex west of downtown. Officers were called there to check on a 71-year-old man who, according to relatives, wasn’t taking his medications and was experiencing delusions, the police chief said.

At some point during the welfare check the man pulled out a handgun hidden inside his clothing and opened fire, striking one of the officers, Tracy said. Other officers struggled with the man as they detained him, and at least one of them suffered a cut on the hand during the scuffle, he said.

The suspect also suffered a hand injury in the struggle and was taken to a different hospital, Tracy said. He didn’t give the man’s name or say what charges he could face.

Friday’s shooting follows a February shooting that left two St. Louis police officers critically wounded south of downtown as they pursued a 36-year-old man wanted in a robbery.

“This is the second time I’ve been to this hospital in two months,” Tracy said Friday as he expressed his gratitude for the hospital staff.