ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- The same video evidence that landed two brothers in jail for first-degree assault has cleared them of charges.
The Circuit Attorney's Office has dropped the charges against the brothers, who were suspected of shooting a city firefighter and local dancer, 26-year-old Rain Stippec, in Soulard in February of 2017 while they were sitting in a car. The victims both survived, and investigators collected video surveillance from security cameras around the neighborhood as they began to build the case.
A short time later, Ryan and James Hartman were arrested.
The victims had been in a classic car on the street, with the shooter said to be in this dark-colored four-door sedan.
That description was similar to the car the Hartmans were driving.
But when investigators began to piece together all the video and sync it up to track the brothers' movement that night, they realized there were two vehicles that fit the description.
“We're constantly interviewing and when we see some discrepancies we have to further investigate those discrepancies and that's what we did in this case,” said Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner. “This is no different than any other case by the time the evidence we had and with experts as well as hard work of my office determined we didn't have the right people at that time.”
One of the victims did say he believed the shooter was black.
The Hartmans are white.
While that was inconsistent, the Circuit Attorney's Office said overall, it had what was considered a "pretty good circumstantial case" against the brothers.
The family of Rain Stippec, a long-time dancer and one of the victims in the shooting, released a statement saying, "We are extremely saddened by the circumstances and our thoughts are with the Hartman family."
News 4 was told at this point there are no persons of interest or suspects in the case.
We're also told there is no known motive at this point.
A spokesperson for the circuit attorneys office says "someone out there knows something."
Anyone with any information is asked to call police or CrimeStoppers.