Update 4:55 p.m.: The suspect’s identity has been released: St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch says 31-year-old Antonio Taylor of St. Louis is charged with three felonies for the shooting of a Ballwin officer: assault on an officer, armed criminal action, and being a felon in possession of a firearm.
A Ballwin police officer is listed in critical but stable condition in a St. Louis-area hospital’s intensive care unit after being shot in the neck, following a traffic stop shortly after 11 a.m. Friday. Ballwin and St. Louis County police said the suspect in that shooting has a criminal history in more than one state.
Ballwin Police Chief Kevin Scott said the shooting happened as the officer, whose name has not been released, was concluding the traffic stop.
“[He] was retreating back to his vehicle to do some follow-up paperwork for whatever that scenario was. While going back to his vehicle with his back turned to the motorist, the driver came out of the vehicle, advanced quickly on the officer from the back, and fired three shots,” said Scott.
“Make no mistake,” said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, “We believe during this investigation that Ballwin officer was ambushed, and that is an unfortunate state of events that we are dealing with right now.”
The incident was caught on the dash camera of the officer’s vehicle, but Ballwin police are asking anyone with additional video of the incident to share it with investigators with their agency or St. Louis County Police.
The officer is a nine-year veteran of law enforcement; the past two years having been spent at Ballwin.
The suspect was caught later when police saw a blue Ford Taurus matching descriptions given by witnesses to the shooting, and matching the vehicle seen in the dash cam video of the shooting. The arrest came after the suspect bailed out of his car and ran from the officer for about five minutes. Police say a handgun was recovered.
Belmar said the name of the suspect will be released once a warrant is issued for him.
“He was put on probation for a weapons violation and a stolen vehicle I guess about 2011. he served some amount of time on probation. He was caught with a weapon in California which made him a felon in possession of a firearm. His probation was revoked. He did 30 months. He was released in March of 2015,” said Belmar.
Smith said there has been no communication with the wounded officer about what happened.
“His family is there. They have had access to him, but we are not in a position at this point, based on his condition, to try to obtain any information from him,” said Smith.
St. Louis and Ballwin police would not speculate about the motive of the man who shot the Ballwin officer today, nor whether that motive could be related to any of the other incidents this week elsewhere in the country.
The shooting comes after a sniper in Dallas, Texas, killed five police officers and wounded others during a protest about police-involved shootings. That follows the killing of two black men by police in two days – one in St. Paul, Minnesota on Wednesday, and one in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Tuesday.