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St. Louis shooting linked to motorcycle rally, few issues elsewhere

St. Louis shooting linked to motorcycle rally, few issues elsewhere


UPDATED with resident complaints

ST. LOUIS — Stunt motorcyclists came by the hundreds to the St. Louis area over the weekend for the annual “Ride of the Century.”

Known for their high-speed wheelies and other daring maneuvers, the motorcyclists have been the bane of police in the past.

This year, St. Louis police received several reports of reckless driving — and one shooting that the department said was tied to riders.

During a gathering of motorcyclists on Saturday evening at South Broadway and Robert Avenue, a 28-year-old man told police the crowd “turned on him” as he was trying to defend an older man involved in a crash.

He dropped his gun, and another man picked it up and shot himself in the thigh, police said.

The man who fired the shot is 31 years old and was taken to a hospital, where police said he was stable.

The man who dropped the gun suffered bruises to his head and face during a scuffle. That was the only criminal incident police said was tied to the motorcyclists.

In St. Louis County, police Sgt. Tracy Panus said the county’s intelligence unit and other officers were unaware of any problems with motorcyclists in areas patrolled by county police.

The Missouri Highway Patrol’s Cpl. Juston Wheetley said he, too, was unaware of any issues.

Some motorists complained on social media about trying to share highways with the swarms of motorcyclists. Other residents complained that the motorcyclists were racing on side streets. A 68-year-old man who lives near Germania Avenue, in the Boulevard Heights neighborhood, said he called police several times to complain.

"They were racing all day, everyday," said the man, who asked that his name be withheld. He said he could hear them racing on the interstate and on side streets, and that tread marks were left behind on the streets.

"They were going so fast and I told the dispatcher somebody is going to get killed and I hope it's not me," he said.

On Friday, before the motorcyclists descended in droves, St. Louis police had said the department would have more officers patrolling the spots where the motorcyclists typically convene.

“This event traditionally brings large groups of ATVs and motorcycles into the city and the surrounding areas,” the city police said in a statement Friday. “And in the past, some members participating in the event were observed performing dangerous stunts on public roadways, blocking traffic, and taunting/evading law enforcement while operating their motorcycles and ATVs in a reckless manner.”

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