Man charged with shooting at St. Louis County officer during traffic stop

2013-01-30T11:00:00Z 2014-09-04T11:14:04Z Man charged with shooting at St. Louis County officer during traffic stopBY JOEL CURRIER 314-340-8256

ST. LOUIS COUNTY   •   A man police say began shooting at police during a traffic stop Tuesday has been charged with a string of felonies, including assault on a law enforcement officer and unlawful use of a firearm.

George J. Waiksnis, 40, of Washington, Mo., is being held in lieu of $100,000 cash-only bail.

Waiksnis was charged Wednesday in St. Louis County with one count of first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, one count of armed criminal action, one count of interfering with arrest, and one count of unlawful possession of a firearm. He was jailed in lieu of a $100,000 cash bail.

He was arrested Tuesday after a police chase. 

Authorities said Officer David Steinmeyer stopped Waiksnis, who was in a Jeep Grand Cherokee, on eastbound Interstate 44 near Eureka for speeding at about 1:50 p.m. Tuesday.

As Steinmeyer was getting out of his vehicle, gunfire sailed through the rear window of the Jeep. Waiksnis fired three to five shots, police said, and at least one of the bullets struck Steinmeyer's windshield. The officer was not hit.

Police said Waiksnis then sped away and led police, including Steinmeyer, on a chase on eastbound I-44 until the suspect lost control and crashed in the median about a mile west of Highway 141.

Police said Waiksnis initially refused to get out of his Jeep but later complied with police orders. Police arrested him at the scene and took him to the West County precinct at 232 Vance Road for questioning.

Neither the suspect nor the officer was hurt. St. Louis County Officer Randy Vaughn said the county's tactical team was training at a nearby shooting range, which allowed officers to respond to the crash scene quickly and persuade Waiksnis to get out of his Jeep.

Police recovered a .40-caliber semiautomatic pistol from the Jeep.

St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch posted a message to his Twitter account Tuesday saying the suspect is a convicted felon who has served time in federal prison. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This version has been updated to include the correct age of the suspect.

Joel Currier is a breaking news reporter for and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow him on Twitter here: @joelcurrier.

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