ST. LOUIS — The family of Bonette Kymbrelle Meeks, who faces first-degree murder charges in the death of officer Michael Langsdorf last week, released a statement this weekend apologizing to the police officer’s family.
Meeks’ father, Bonette Meeks Sr., 49, of St. Louis County, said the family sent the statement to media organizations because they wanted to say how sorry they were and to express their sympathy to Langsdorf’s family.
“My family is very devastated about the destruction that my son has caused,” he said Sunday in a telephone interview. “We feel very badly for the officer’s family.”
“I wish we could take back that day.”
Langsdorf, 40, was fatally shot June 23 after responding to a bad check complaint at Clay’s Wellston Food Market Restaurant, where a man was trying to cash a $6,000 check. Surveillance footage shows Langsdorf and a man struggling for several seconds before the officer was shot while still on his hands and knees, police have said.
Langsdorf, of the North County Police Cooperative, was a father of two, former volunteer firefighter and longtime police officer. Officials praised his service career and donations to Langsdorf’s family have poured in ahead of the officer’s funeral Monday; the funeral Mass was set to begin at 10 a.m. at the Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis, 4431 Lindell Boulevard, with interment to follow at Resurrection Cemetery, 6901 Mackenzie Road in St. Louis County.
Bonette Kymbrelle Meeks, Jr., 26, of Berkeley, is being held without bail at the St. Louis County Justice Center. He is charged with first-degree murder, armed criminal action, unlawful possession of a weapon and resisting arrest. He had been in and out of the North Carolina prison system; records show several pending and dismissed counts of marijuana possession, cocaine distribution and trespassing. A 2011 charge of robbery with a dangerous weapon was dismissed.
“The family would like to express our deepest sympathy and send our condolences to the Michael Langsdorf children, parents, fiancee, family and friends,” the Meeks family said in a statement that was emailed to St. Louis media outlets on Saturday.
“We are (devastated) that Michael Langsdorf family has to endure such heartache,” the statement said. “We know there are no words that can change the outcome of what has happened. We will continue to pray the strength that we all shall see light at the end of this darkened tunnel and GOD will continue to be a fence around us all.”
The killing was a shock, the elder Meeks said Sunday. He said he has not yet been able to speak to his son.
“What I’m reading, it’s not the son I raised and has been around me and my family,” said Meeks Sr., a longtime construction worker and St. Louis native.
He had just seen his son a day earlier, Meeks said. His son was living with his grandmother and working two jobs at area chain restaurants after returning from Charlotte, North Carolina.
But he told his father he had recently lost both jobs “because he was quiet and kept to himself,” Meeks Sr. said.
“I was like, ‘Son, I got you, it’s going to be alright, you’re going to find another job,’” he said. “I gave him some money to help him out. We went to a bar and had a couple of beers and had a good time like a normal son and father. He gave me a hug and said he loved me.”
Meeks Jr. was born in St. Louis but moved to North Carolina with his mother when he was 2 years old, the elder Meeks said. He would visit the St. Louis area for holidays and to see family, Meeks Sr. said.
In Charlotte, Meeks Jr. had failed to finish school and racked up several drug convictions but did not have a violent history, according to his father.
“That’s why I was so shocked when they said he had a violent past,” he said. “His record is dealing drugs and stuff. It isn’t anything to be proud of, but that’s what he did. I didn’t see anything violent.”
The younger man obtained his GED while behind bars in North Carolina. He showed no sign of odd behavior in the days leading up to the killing, Meeks Sr. said. He didn’t know his son had a gun, he said.
“If I knew my son carried a gun, I would’ve turned it in myself to the police,” he said. “I did not know that he carried any weapon. No felon is supposed to have a gun. I didn’t want my son to go back to jail, so I didn’t want him to have one and didn’t know he had one.”
Investigators on Friday took into custody a second person, whom they did not identify, in connection with Langsdorf’s death.
“Our investigators are coordinating their efforts with the St. Louis Prosecuting Attorney’s Office and reviewing all facts and circumstances regarding the person of interest and their exact involvement in previous crimes, which ultimately led to Bonette Meeks, 26, murdering Officer Langsdorf,” a police statement read.