Chief backs up officer who shot at suspect, failed to report inc - KMOV.com

Chief backs up officer who shot at suspect, failed to report incident

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By KMOV Web Producer By KMOV Web Producer

WELLSTON, Mo. (KMOV.com) -- A former police officer said a police pursuit he witnessed went too far when he saw a Wellston police officer shoot at an unarmed suspect.

What former St. Louis City police officer Eddie Simmons thought was a typical police chase took an unusual turn when the Wellston officer shot the suspect as he tried to escape.

"I'm looking at all of this and all it was, this guy was running. That's all he did. Now, if you got anything called felony running, then he's guilty of that," said Simmons.

After the shot was fired, the suspect allegedly fell, got back up and took off. Simmons maintains the suspect was unarmed and was not posing a threat.

When News 4 asked Wellston Police about the scenario Simmons allegedly saw, it turned out the police officer had never mentioned what happened to his supervisors.

"If this officer concealed the shooting in the first place, can his version of events be trusted? That's possible and we took that into consideration," said Wellston Police Department Chief G.T Walker. "Prior to this, he's been a good officer. We haven't had any problems with him."

When asked by officials, the policeman said his gun went off accidentally and that he just didn't think about reporting it. The suspect was not hit by the officer's bullet, according to authorities. 

Even with the officer's explanation, the Wellston Police Department put him on five day unpaid leave for failing to report the incident and for violating pursuit policy.

The police officer was wearing a body camera during the incident but it was not turned on.

"With an accidental discharge, that would be a bit different because there was no criminal intent," Walker said. "I do believe him [the officer]."

Any additional discipline for the officer or termination would come from the Wellston City Council.

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