News 4 is tracking a disturbing trend in the St. Louis area. More and more criminals are attacking police officers. Just within the past week, four men have been charged with assaulting police.
St. Louis Metropolitan police have fired their weapons 47 times in 2012. In 18 of those incidents, either suspect was hit, or an officer was shot by a suspect. That’s up from the yearly average of 13 officer-involved shootings.
Police say more illegal guns are on the street in the hands of criminals who aren’t afraid to use them against cops. Officers say they will defend themselves—and the community—even though assaults on officers have largely turned from fist fights to gun battles.
“We used to fight a lot—roll on the ground, that kind of stuff,” Lieutenant Mike Anderson said. “Very rarely will it happen now. Now it’s cars, it’s guns, it’s assault rifles.”
Lt. Anderson started his career in St. Louis 40 years ago. He says the badge no longer gets the same respect.
“It’s a generational attitude, I think. We don’t represent the authority, the respect any longer, so they don’t give it,” Lt. Anderson said.
Just within the past week, four men have been charged with assaulting police.
Officers say Rodrigus Hinton turned his car into a weapon by trying to run down a cop who had attempted a simple traffic stop.
Convicted felon Michael Harris apparently didn’t want to go back jail. He’s accused of punching and kicking the officers who were trying to get to his illegal gun.
Then there’s Michael Henderson, accused of trying to wrestle an officer’s gun away from him during an arrest.
And police say Terrell Hart pointed a shotgun at them when they confronted him.
“It’s that badge and that uniform and the fact that you stopped them. That’s it. That’s the trigger,” Lt. Anderson said. “There will always be a group of people whose goals are to better themselves at the expense of everyone else, and we’re the people that stand in their way, and they will do whatever it takes to go around us - or through us.”