LADUE, Mo. (KMOV.com) – The mother of a woman who was shot by an officer after being accused of shoplifting at a Ladue Schnucks says “the punishment is too great for the crime.”
Alleged shoplifting incident
Police said they received a call from the Ladue Schnucks just after 3:00 p.m. Tuesday about two shoplifters inside the store.
One of them was Karen Carter's 33-year-old daughter. She was stopped by a Ladue police officer in her attempt to escape. Police said the officer tried to arrest her but she resisted and a struggle began. The officer's weapon was discharged as a result and the woman suffered a single gunshot wound to the stomach.
Carter said her daughter is a mother of five.
"The punishment is too great for the crime, it's too excessive," Carter said. "I would rather see my daughter go to court and let the judge be the judge and the officers be the officers."
According to police, two women were pushing a grocery cart with stolen items and were accompanied by another man. Schnucks employees stopped the women at the door. One of the women then left the cart, ran out of the store and into the parking lot.
The second woman remained inside the store, holding some balloons she paid for. She tried to grab some items in the cart but was stopped by an employee and another employee called the Ladue Police Department, authorities said. She was able to grab a few items and then she ran outside of the store.
While running away, the woman fell in the parking lot and dropped some of the items she was carrying.
Carter said the balloons her daughter bought were of the numbers five and two for Carter's 52nd birthday, which was on that same day.
An employee outside approached the woman and offered to help her up, but she hit him, a spokesperson for Schnucks said.
The woman got up and ran out of the employee's sight but was eventually stopped by a Ladue officer. The woman said she was injured during an altercation at Schnucks, so an ambulance was called.
Shortly after, the officer tried to arrest the woman but police said she resisted and a struggle ensued.
As a result, police said the officer's weapon discharged, hitting the woman in the stomach. She was taken to the hospital and is expected to survive.
Carter said her daughter is stable and improving everyday but is still unable to speak. Carter hasn't heard her daughter's side of what happened.
"They said stable and everyday there's improvements," Carter said. "I believe my daughter shall live but it's the process, it's the pain of knowing bullets entered my baby's body, it's the pain of knowing she had to feel this."
Police said the woman has not been charged with a crime.
The St. Louis County Police Department said they were called just before 4 p.m. and are assisting Ladue police in their investigation.
“We’re in a very busy shopping plaza," said Sergeant Ben Granda with St. Louis County Police. "We have a lot of potential witnesses to talk to."
Police said the man that accompanied the two women later came to the police station and was released from custody after speaking with investigators. He has not been charged with a crime.
Schnucks has turned over surveillance video to the police.
“Our detectives are working on that. They're going to be gathering statements from those involved in this and hopefully that's something we can provide clarity on as we move forward," Granda said.
The officer, a 37-year-old woman who has been with Ladue police for 13 years, was placed on paid administrative leave.
Other Ladue officers were on the scene assisting the officer.
Joseph Best was driving by the shopping center when the shot was fired.
“Kinda makes you scared because you hear about it happen in North City but then you’re in Ladue, in broad daylight,” Best said. “You’ll never forget that noise, especially being that close. Thank God I wasn’t in the parking lot.”
The Ladue Crossing Shopping Center is located off Ladue Road near I-170.
Aftermath of the shooting
Even though it’s the first officer-involved shooting in Ladue, police chief Ken Andreski, Jr. told News 4 his department has protocols to ensure a fair and impartial investigation and that his officers are as well trained on the use of force as any area police department.
"Every situation is different, the situation dictates the level of force," Andreski said. "We are confident in our officers and in their training and their professionalism."
Police are now looking for a woman who they believe has information on the shooting. According to police, she is one of two people who was seen in association with the woman who was shot.
Anyone who may know the identity of the woman or her whereabouts is asked to contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 314-615-5400.
Anyone with any additional information is asked to contact the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210.
If you wish to remain anonymous, you can contact CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-TIPS(8477).