The off-duty officer came from his nearby home after hearing the commotion from the crash. (Image courtesy of KTVI News)
An off-duty cop was wounded by a fellow officer following a high-speed chase that ended near the off-duty officer’s home in St. Louis’ North Pointe neighborhood late Wednesday.
Local station Fox 2 Now reported that the incident began shortly after 10 p.m. when a police recognition system spotted a stolen car from Maryland Heights, spurring the car chase. Three people in the vehicle reportedly fired shots at officers after the authorities used spike strips to stop the car.
The vehicle eventually crashed in front of a house, after which more gunfire was exchanged, according to the news station.
That’s when the off-duty officer, who is African-American, heard the commotion and walked from his nearby home to assist his fellow officers. He was quickly ordered to the ground by two officers already at the scene, to which he complied. Once the officers finally recognized him, the off-duty cop was told he could get up.
A third officer arrived on the scene, however, who didn’t recognize the off-duty officer and ended up shooting the man in the arm. The off-duty officer, who is an 11-year-veteran of the force, was taken to a local area hospital and treated for his wounds.
Meanwhile, the on-duty officer, who is a 36-year-old white male, told the city he feared for his safety, according to Fox 2 Now.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that police initially called the incident an example of “friendly fire” and that the 38-year-old Black officer got “caught in the crossfire” between the police and the suspects. But a department summary of the incident, released Thursday, June 22, revealed that the off-duty cop was actually shot by another officer in a separate encounter away from the initial chase/crash.
“In the police report, you have so far, there is no description of threat [the on-duty officer] received,” Rufus J. Tate Jr., attorney for the off-duty cop, said. “So, we have a real problem with that. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years; there’s this perception that a Black man is automatically feared.”
Tate claims his client identified himself as an officer at the time of the incident.
There are no details on whether the on-duty officer has been placed on administrative leave.
Two suspects in the chase were apprehended. A third is still at large, the Post-Dispatch reported.