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Suspect facing multiple charges after allegedly shooting Bellefontaine Neighbors officers

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Officers escort a man taken outside of the home by stretcher into an ambulance. (Credit: KMOV) Officers escort a man taken outside of the home by stretcher into an ambulance. (Credit: KMOV)
Police officers in the area of Bellefontaine Road and Chambers (Credit: KMOV) Police officers in the area of Bellefontaine Road and Chambers (Credit: KMOV)
Police officers in the area of Bellefontaine Road and Chambers (Credit: KMOV) Police officers in the area of Bellefontaine Road and Chambers (Credit: KMOV)
A SWAT team arriving to the standoff location in North County (Credit: Justin Andrews, KMOV) A SWAT team arriving to the standoff location in North County (Credit: Justin Andrews, KMOV)
A driver's license photo of Jason Cook (Credit: St. Louis County Police Department) A driver's license photo of Jason Cook (Credit: St. Louis County Police Department)

ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – A 37-year-old man is facing four charges after allegedly shooting two Bellefontaine Neighbors police officers in north St. Louis County Thursday morning.

Friday morning, Jason Cook, of the 10120 block of Bellefontaine Road, was charged with two counts of first-degree assault and two counts of armed criminal action. He is currently being held on a $150,000 cash-only bond.

Cook reportedly barricaded himself inside a home on Bellefontaine Road Thursday after allegedly shooting two officers in their vests.

At 2:45 p.m., SWAT team officials entered the home. About 10 minutes later, officers brought a man outside of the home, where he was handcuffed, put on a stretcher and taken from the scene by an ambulance to be treated for a gunshot wound. The suspect is expected to survive. It is currently unknown when the suspect sustained the wound.

As officials were outside the home during the standoff around 11:10 a.m., Cook reportedly fired his gun outside before retreating back inside. According to police, an official stationed outside of the home fired one round back at the suspect, but it is unknown if that round struck him.

Police said two handguns were recovered from the house. 

The two officers who were reportedly shot in the vest by the suspect were released from the hospital Thursday.

According to officials, they became focused on the suspect Wednesday night when officers with the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department were called to an area of Bellefontaine Road after a report of shots fired. When officers arrived at the scene, they could not find a suspect and there were not enough facts to further the investigation, according to St. Louis County Police Sgt. Shawn McGuire.

“However, Bellefontaine Neighbors took it upon themselves to really stay focused on that house, stay in the area of that house, just in case something else would happen,” said Sgt. McGuire.

Around 7:15 a.m. Thursday, officers received a call from a neighbor stating the suspect had left his residence, which is when the officers went to the area and saw the suspect walking down the street in the area of Bellefontaine Road and Crete.

When the officers spotted the suspect, they attempted to talk with him. When the dialogue seemed to fail, the officers attempted to take the person into custody.

“They [the officers] did go hands on. We believe that a taser was possibly tried at that point. At some point during their altercation is when the suspect took out a firearm, we believe a handgun, and shot the officers,” Sgt. McGuire said.

Police said one officer returned fire and the suspect fled the scene.

Steve Jones was nearby when the shooting occurred.

“I was approaching the cross streets down here on Bellefontaine and slowed down because there was police activity in the front yard, and, all of a sudden, I seen three officers, Bellefontaine officers trying to take this man to the ground, and next thing I know, this man jumps up off the ground and I see pepper spray being deployed from the officers and this man backs up about 15-feet and starts shooting,” said Jones, who witnessed the shooting. “I think there was probably seven or eight gunshots. At that point, they all fell to the ground, I didn’t know who was hit, if anybody was hit, but then I called 911 and reported what I saw.”

Read: Witness describes moment officers shot in North County

According to officials, the bullets were fired at the officers’ chests. The bullets hit the officers’ vests.

“When a bullet hits the chest, even when it doesn’t penetrate the skin, it still could cause damage internally,” Sgt. McGuire said. “By God’s will both officers were struck in a location that they had protection.”

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After the shots were fired, Jones said he saw the shooter go into a house on Bellefontaine. 

“Took him forever to get into the house,” said Jones. “So, I didn’t know if he was forcing his way in or if he actually lived there.”

During the standoff, the St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Tactical Operations was called to the scene to assist with the barricaded suspect, who was still armed. During a press conference Thursday morning, Sgt. McGuire stressed the situation was ongoing.

“Usually when we have an officer-involved shooting that person is usually in custody right after. This is a different case,” Sgt. McGuire said. “It’s still an active scene. We have officers that are in danger right now, right down the street from us, with our tactical operations unit and officers that surround this structure and hopefully we get this guy in custody as soon as possible.”  

According to Sgt. McGuire, the female officer is 25 years old and has been with the Bellefontaine Neighbors Police Department for three years. The male officer is described as being 44 years old and he has been on the force for eight years.

Around 8:30 a.m., both directions of Interstate 270 were closed near Bellefontaine Road due to the police activity. During the closure, eastbound traffic was diverted at Route 367 and westbound traffic was diverted to Riverview. All lanes of the interstate reopened around 9 a.m.

As a result, three Hazelwood schools were placed on ‘soft lockdown’; Hazelwood East High, Hazelwood East Middle and Hazelwood Opportunity Center. The ‘soft lockdown’ was lifted around 12:30 p.m.

The St. Louis County Police Department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons will lead the investigation. 

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