ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) -- A teen was shot in the stomach Thursday afternoon after allegedly stealing a tip jar and assaulting a customer at a south St. Louis City restaurant.
According to the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, a 16-year old and another teen were causing a disturbance inside Utah Station restaurant, at the corner of Utah Street and Wisconsin Avenue in the Benton Park neighborhood. When the teens left, police say, the 16-year old stole a tip jar.
A witness told News 4 that a group of customers followed the teens out to see which way they went or to get a description of their vehicle. However, the witness said the teens stopped, turned around and started walking back toward the customers.
Then, the witness said, the 16-year old singled out a 56-year old customer, shoved him to the ground and started beating on him. Police said, it was at this time that the restaurant co-owner came out and shot the 16-year old.
A woman who didn't want to give her name, said the restaurant co-owner feared for the customer's life. She said the customer is a frequent visitor to the restaurant and a friend of the co-owner.
"He was protecting his friend," she said.
Police said they arrested 52-year old Sam Bauer on suspicion of first-degree assault. The case is still under investigation and hasn't been turned over to prosecutors who'll have to decide if the shooting was justified.
News 4 contacted the home where Bauer lives but the person who answered the phone did not want to comment. Utah Station restaurant is a highly regarded business, according to neighbors.
"It was vacant for God knows 25 or 30 years. It was really neat to see them renovate an old gas station," said Joe Burke who lives nearby.
The 16-year old was taken to a hospital for treatment. He was later listed in stable condition. The man who was beaten refused medical treatment but had apparent injuries to his face.