Suspect in hospital following police chase, officer-involved sho -

Suspect in hospital following police chase, officer-involved shooting

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A suspect is in the hospital following a pursuit-turned-shooting overnight. 

Around 12:45 a.m., Velda City Police Department requested the St. Louis County Department's Bureau of Crimes Against Persons regarding a first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer. 

Police said a vehicle was speeding in the area of West Florissant Avenue and Lucas and Hunt Road. When the vehicle did not pull over, a Velda City Police officer initiated a pursuit. According to police, a record check determined the vehicle they were pursuing was reported stolen. 

The vehicle fled north and drove onto Ventura Drive, near Chambers Road, where police said the driver of the vehicle flourished a gun. Then, the driver opened his door and fired one shot towards the officer, striking his windshield. The officer returned fire while still in pursuit. 

After turning onto the 9800 block of Vickie Place, the driver crashed the vehicle into a tree.

Three suspects fled the scene on foot. The driver, police said, fled with his weapon. Two Velda City officers on the scene fired rounds at the suspect.

The driver dropped his handgun as he fled, police said. The weapon was recovered by police.

During the shooting, Tiffany Coleman's daughter and niece were home and she says that if she were home at the time of the shooting, she would have died.

"I could have really been dead had I been home in my bed," she said. "I have bullet wounds where I lay my head."

Coleman questioned the actions of the police officers, saying what they did put her family in danger, but Chief Paulino of the Velda City Police Department said in an email that "the welfare of our citizens and their property is our only priority. Sometimes, the incident at hand that is forced upon us by criminals’ changes our normally followed protocols.”

After the crash, one occupant, who remained in the vehicle, surrendered to police. Police said the occupant is a juvenile. 

While investigating the scene of the crash, police received a call for a shooting victim in the 9800 block of East Dell. Upon further investigation, police identified the victim as the driver of the vehicle that fled Velda City police. 

The driver, who is identified as 19 year-old Davionne Churchman, is in the hospital in stable condition.

Churchman was charged with assaulting a police officer, armed criminal action and unlawful use of weapon. His bail has been set at a $250,000 cash bond. 

The juvenile, 15, was released to the custody of Family Court. 

Authorities said the shooting was captured on dash cam video. In the video, which has not been released to the public, police said Churchman can be seen on video pointing and shooting at the officer. 

No police officers were injured in the chase or the shooting. 

An investigation is ongoing. 

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