Off-duty officer struck by van while arresting alleged shoplifters shoots at suspect


An off-duty police officer was struck by a fleeing van while arresting two alleged shoplifters last night.
The officer shot at the driver of the van, but police said it was unknown if the gunfire struck the driver. The county police officer suffered non-life threatening injuries, including lacerations to his hand, along with a lower body injury. He was taken to a local hospital, where he remains for treatment.
The officer, a 20-year veteran with the St. Louis County Police Department, was shopping at about 6:15 p.m. Wednesday at Costco, 4200 Rusty Road, when store employees told him that two suspects were stealing merchandise.
The off-duty officer, who was not in uniform, walked to the parking lot and got into his marked St. Louis County Police vehicle. He saw the two suspects enter a vehicle, described as a panel van, which drove away from Costco.
The officer followed the van and pulled it over in the 11100 block of Lindbergh Business Court in Green Park. After the van stopped, the driver immediately left the vehicle and started to run away. Another subject also exited the vehicle, but did not attempt to flee, and immediately surrendered.
While arresting the two suspects, an unknown third person inside the van drove off, striking the officer, according to police. The officer then fired at the driver of the van.
“While fleeing from the scene, the van struck the officer. In fear of his life or serious physical injury, the officer discharged his duty weapon at the driver of the vehicle,” a news release stated. “At this point in the investigation, it is unknown if the driver of the van was struck. The suspect vehicle fled the scene.”
Police later found the unoccupied van in the 4500 block of Pennsylvania in St. Louis city. They believe two people where in the vehicle when it fled the scene.
The St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons is investigating.
Anyone with information about the incident is asked to contact the department at (636) 529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at (866) 371-TIPS (8477).