ST. LOUIS • A nightclub bouncer fired on an off-duty St. Louis patrolman after mistaking him for a criminal during a fatal shootout Easter morning, according to information from police and liquor commission records.
The newly released material provides a fresh account of the confusing episode early in the morning on April 24 in which Officer Daryl Hall, 34, was slain as he fatally shot Asif Blake, 30, in a confrontation over shots Blake reportedly fired.
It happened in the parking lot of the Label at the Ballpark, 758 South Fourth Street, which has since closed.
Schron Jackson, a police department spokeswoman, said ballistics tests were inconclusive but that "police believe that there is a possibility that it (the gunshot that killed Hall), in fact, did come from the bouncer's gun."
Investigators are expected to present evidence to prosecutors for consideration of charges but have not done so yet.
A police report identifies Will Spencer, 30, as a "suspect/offender" armed with a handgun at the scene. Police questioned and released him pending the results of the investigation.
Spencer, who could not be reached for comment, is a sergeant assigned to the 375th Civil Engineer Squadron at Scott Air Force Base and was off-duty and working an extra job as the club's bouncer.
Officials said the bouncer was providing security without authorization from the Board of Police Commissioners, which state law requires. The department said bouncers licensed to work in St. Louis are not permitted to carry weapons.
It's unclear whether Spencer has a concealed-carry permit. Off-duty members of the military have no special privileges under Missouri's gun laws.
Hall, a regular customer of the Label who was off-duty in plain clothes and with his girlfriend that morning, rushed outside when he heard shots and encountered Blake firing a handgun, police said. They said he identified himself as an officer, ordered Blake to drop his gun and began firing when Blake refused.
In an April 25 email to St. Louis Liquor Commissioner Bob Kraiberg, club owners Craig Morris and Chris Little said the bouncer shot at Hall, according to notes retained in the commission's files.
Morris and Little did not return messages left by a reporter.
Their email said three customers were upset about having to leave the club as it was closing about 2:30 a.m. As bouncers escorted customers to their cars, two of the patrons began a "tussle" and a third "comes out of nowhere" and "starts firing 7-10 shots. At this time everybody is scattering all over outside," the document says.
The club's bouncer, "a trained military soldier," also fired his gun twice, according to the email. "He was behind a vehicle and was unaware that the person shooting was an officer." It added, "He thought (Hall) was one of the suspects firing on someone."
A police report lists Spencer as being an acquaintance of Hall.
Hall's mother, Vernell Peeples, 63, of Detroit, said in an interview Wednesday that police had briefed her.
"I just don't understand why the bouncer would go out there and start shooting like that," Peeples said. "He should have found out who Daryl was first and what was going on before he started shooting."
The club had formerly hired an off-duty police officer for security as well as bouncers, the owners' email told Kraiberg, but the officer quit when business slowed a couple of months earlier.
Blake, of Hazelwood, who served in Iraq with the Missouri Army National Guard, was shot multiple times and died at the scene. Autopsy and toxicology results for him were incomplete Wednesday.
Hall died of a bullet wound to his neck and was also shot in the arm, authorities said. Toxicology results showed the officer had a blood-alcohol content of 0.047 percent, well under the legal limit to drive a vehicle.
Karen Petitt, a spokeswoman for Scott Air Force Base, said Spencer joined the Air Force in November 2001 and was authorized to work a second job as a bouncer. She said he has not been disciplined since the incident and continues his regular duties.
Petitt said Scott has no gun ownership records for Spencer because he does not live at the base. She said he would not have had a government-issued weapon. She also said the Air Force asked Spencer not to speak to reporters about the case while police are investigating.
The Label closed last month, its owners said, because its changing clientele represented a departure from its goal of being a laid-back, upscale urban lounge and art gallery before and after Cardinals games.
Little's wife, Leteri Little, is trying to open a new bar and lounge on Washington Avenue, but she faces resistance from downtown loft-dwellers worried about it becoming another late-night club.
Hall was a five-year veteran of the police department assigned to the housing authority unit. He was a 2002 graduate of Lincoln University in Jefferson City and was a social worker in Chicago before becoming a police officer.