Neighbors respond to police chase and shooting involving teens

Max Diekneite and Kevin S. Held

4 hours ago

ST. LOUIS – A North County Co-Op officer returned gunfire at a group of suspects who fired shots while pursuing a stolen vehicle early Saturday morning. Four suspects are behind bars during the investigation.

The shooting happened just after 2 a.m. Saturday after the officer responded to a report of a stolen vehicle in northern St. Louis County. It involved a chase through parts of St. Louis City and St. Louis County.

According to a statement from the St. Louis County Police Department, an officer with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department observed a Kia sedan in the 2600 block of Locust Street in St. Louis City that was reportedly stolen from the 2100 block of Chambers Road in North County .

Pamela Chambers’ brother lives in the north county where this happened. She said she believed she had seen the youths in question commit crimes before and was part of a group of neighbors who called the police. She said the youth in the area were out of control.

“Teenagers do too much out here,” Chambers said. “They’re not being held accountable for the things they do and it’s just scary out here. They are not afraid.”

Chambers said she would like to see the teens face adult charges.

“You can’t let these kids continue to steal cars and do nothing to them. Because then they just steal another car or break into someone’s house. When you’re a kid, you do kid stuff. But when you act like an adult and you’re still a child, you have to be responsible.”

After the teens allegedly stole the Kia and drove to Locust Street, the SLMPD officer who responded was informed that a person had attempted to interrupt the suspects while they were vehicle tampering on a private, fenced property there. A suspect opened fire on the person and the person reportedly fired back.

Abbey Lauffer lives in the apartment complex next to the parking lot. She said she heard the entire incident from her apartment.

“I was sitting there and I just heard all these shots ring out. “It sounded like fireworks or something like that,” Lauffer said. “(I heard) several rounds. I could tell it was a heavier weapon, it wasn’t just ‘pew-pew!’ It was many, many rounds.”

The SLMPD officer heard the shots and later observed a person enter the stolen Kia. That officer then attempted to stop the vehicle but ended up pursuing it. A short time later, the group crossed the St. Louis city-county border in the stolen vehicle and a North County Co-Op officer was asked to give chase.

As the North County Co-Op officer took over the vehicle and gave chase, at least one person in the group opened fire on the officer. Officers “fired back at the suspects in multiple locations,” the release said.

The pursuit eventually ended in the 9700 block of Winkler Drive. The suspects jumped out of the stalled Kia and attempted to flee, but authorities later located all four occupants in the car.

According to the press release, three suspects were juvenile males and one was an adult.

No injuries were reported among suspects, officers or potential witnesses, according to the news release.

Police seized two weapons during the investigation and learned of shots fired in the 2600 block of Locust Street during the first officer-involved exchange.

The news release states that the officer involved was a 28-year-old who worked with the North County Co-Op department and had five years of law enforcement experience.

The St. Louis County Police Department is asking anyone with additional information regarding this investigation to come forward. If you have relevant information, contact the department at 636-529-8210 or CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS (8477).