Officer shot, suspect dead after fiery crash in St. Louis County


by Brendan Marks / Staff | @BrendanMarks

Posted on February 27, 2014 at 5:21 AM

Updated Thursday, Feb 27 at 5:40 PM

(KMOV) -- Authorities say a suspect is dead after opening fire on police following a fiery high-speed crash in north St. Louis County early Thursday morning.

According to police, an officer was on Woodson Rd. around 2:30 a.m. when he saw a vehicle drive by at a high rate of speed.

Police say the officer followed and found the vehicle had crashed and was on fire near the intersection of Woodson and Natural Bridge.

The officer called for assistance and multiple agencies responded to the scene.

Police say a St. John officer went to help a man in the front seat, but he took out a handgun and shot the officer once in the chest.

Click here to see photos of the scene

Authorities say officers returned fire, but it was not known if the suspect was hit. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, but police could not confirm how he died. His body was pulled from the vehicle around 8:45 a.m.

The officer, who was wearing a bulletproof vest, was taken to the hospital with non-life-threatening injuries. He was released Thurdsay afternoon. 

Police say officers then heard a woman yelling.

"Next thing you know you have a female screaming for her life and they''re trying to save her life," said St. Louis County Police Officer Brian Schellman.

Police extracted that woman from the car and pulled her to safety. She and another woman inside the vehicle were taken to the hospital. One of them suffered severe burns. The other was believed to be OK and cooperating with police.

At least five shell casings were found around the car.

Several officers were outside a home in the 8420 block of Engler in St. John around 9 a.m. Thursday. According to Schellman, that's where the deceased suspect had been staying.

Schellman told News 4's Laura Hettiger residents inside the home were not cooperating with officers. 

Natural Bridge was closed at Woodson while authorities investigated the crash and shooting. It was expected to open back up sometime late Thursday morning.

Interstate 70 was shut down near Interstate 170 for about 40 minutes after the crash, but has since reopened.