Suspect charged after officer-involved shooting on I-44 in Soula -


Suspect charged after officer-involved shooting on I-44 in Soulard

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Credit: KMOV Credit: KMOV

Eastbound I-44 just before it merges with I-55 was closed in Soulard for several hours due to an officer-involved shooting, police say.

Police say they were tracking 30-year-old John Blanchard Jr. in south St. Louis wanted for a robbery and parole violations and in order to stop him they deployed spike strips.

When Blanchard drove over the spike strips, he realized police were pursuing him, so he got onto eastbound I-44 near Vandeventer and led officers on a slow chase, police say. During the chase, he sideswiped a police car, authorities said.

As the car's tires were deflating, his car was slowing down, eventually coming to a rest near where eastbound I-44 merges with I-55. Police said he then pointed a gun at officers before three officers then fired shots, striking Blanchard. 

Police said they recovered a gun at the scene.

Blanchard was taken to a hospital in serious but stable condition, police say.

All lanes of eastbound I-44 were closed for several hours but have since re-opened.

Blanchard has been charged with: assault in the first degree, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon, resisting arrest by fleeing and unlawful possession of a firearm. 

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