A St. Louis police officer has died from his injuries after being shot in the head by a gunman who then forced a couple out of their homes and barricaded himself inside for 12 hours.
Officer Tamarris L. Bohannon, 29, had been with the department for three and a half years and became the first officer to be killed in the city since 2011, KMOV4 reported.
A second officer who was shot in the leg was treated and released after the shooting.
The incident happened around 6pm in the South Grand neighborhood, near Tower Grove Park.
Officers were searching for a reported shooting victim when the gunman shot Bohannon in the head and the other officer in the leg, said Chief John Hayden of St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
The officers were ‘trying to do their job, that’s all they’re trying to do and they’re suffering under gunfire,’ Hayden said.
The gunman then ordered a family out of their home at gunpoint and barricaded himself inside for almost 12 hours.
Homeowners Mimi and Steve Haag said they were trying to call 911 to help another man who had been shot when the gunman just walked into their home.
‘I saw then he had a gun,’ Steve Haag told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
‘He was very calm standing there with it in his hand and he just says to Mimi: ‘Ma’am you need to get off the phone.’
The Haags escaped through the back door and were unhurt in their encounter with the gunman.
While the man was barricaded inside, officers armed with rifles and a SWAT team assembled outside.
Police closed surrounding streets and warned residents to stay inside.
They used a bullhorn to order the suspect out and fired tear gas into the house, but fired no gunshots, the department said. The man was taken into custody around 5.30am. Police have released no details about how the standoff came to an end.
Mayor Lyda Krewson said in a statement on Sunday night that she was ‘heartbroken’ at Bohannon’s death.
‘I’ve had the privilege of spending some time with his family under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances,’ she said.
‘They’re wonderful people and immensely proud of the way he selflessly served and protected our community with distinction and honor for more than three years.
‘This is a horrific reminder of the dangers our brave men and women willingly face everyday to keep us safe … This is a terrible, senseless tragedy.’
A photo of a note from Bohannon’s family was posted on the department’s Twitter page after the announcement of his death.
‘He is a hero to many, but most importantly to his loving wife and three incredible children,’ read the note that referred to Bohannon as ‘Bo’, and asked for ‘prayers and support in the days ahead.’
Krewson tweeted her condolences following the incident.
‘Please keep our injured officers and all the men and women of @SLMPD in your thoughts and prayers as this situation continues to develop. Their friends, family and loved ones, too,’ Krewson said.
Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner, who has a fractious relationship with the city’s police, also issued a statement of support.
‘We extend our deepest concern and sadness surrounding today’s unfortunate events,’ Gardner told KDSK-TV.
‘I want to extend my prayers for the injured SLMPD officers and their families.’
Hayden said that the shooting is part of ‘a surge in violence’ this summer.
Eight of his officers have been shot in the line of duty since June 1, he said.
‘We’re trying to cope through a very trying summer, and it’s very difficult.’
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