An 18-year-old who police say wounded a Velda City police officer apparently shot himself after authorities found him hiding in a trash bin.
Photo credit: Brian Kelly via Twitter
VELDA CITY, Missouri — A north St. Louis County man who police say wounded an officer apparently shot himself after authorities found him hiding in a trash bin.
Police said the 18-year-old was pronounced dead at the scene. He was later identified as Sam Thompson.
The incident began shortly after 11 a.m. when a Velda City officer responded to a domestic disturbance call in the 2200 block of Lucas and Hunt Road.
An officer arriving at the scene saw three adults scuffling in the front yard of single-family home. Thompson’s mother lives at the home and he lives there on and off, said St. Louis County police spokesman Officer Benjamin Granda.
The scuffle involved Thompson and his girlfriend, Granda said. They were quarreling with Thompson’s mother after Thompson and his girlfriend took “personal objects” out of the mother’s home, Granda said.
One of the women told police that Thompson had a gun, Granda said. The officer saw Thompson concealing something in his right hand behind his right leg. The officer told him to drop it, but instead, he raised a gun toward the officer and shots were exchanged, Granda said.
One round from Thompson’s gun struck the officer’s service holster and then grazed his right thigh, police said. The officer was treated at a hospital and released later in the day.
Thompson ran and police lost sight of him, Granda said.
Another Velda City police officer and Velda City Police Chief Daniel Paulino were close by and responded immediately, followed by officers from St. Louis, the North County Police Cooperative and Missouri Highway Patrol.
A police dog later led officers to a small roll-away trash can in the 6900 block of Normandale Drive. It appears Thompson had run through a backyard, across an alley and through another yard before hiding in the trash can.
When one of the officers opened the lid, Thompson shot himself in the head, Granda said. Several police officers witnessed the suicide, Granda said.
The medical examiner is still trying to determine whether any of the officer’s shots struck Thompson, Granda said.
Paulino said his department had responded to multiple calls at the address for issues including mental distress involving Thompson, but he was unaware of the 18-year-old having a criminal record.
Paulino said the injured officer had been with his department for about 3 1/2 years and had 15 years of law enforcement experience.
“I talked to him. He’s in good spirits,” Paulino said. “He was asking about his holster.”
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SOURCE: ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH & Officer.com