ST. LOUIS • St. Louis’ homicide tally pushed to a 21-year high early Friday morning, when three women were shot to death in an apparent home invasion on the city’s north side.
The victims, all women in their 20s, were killed after 3 a.m. in the 4200 block of John Avenue.
The dead were identified as Reeba M. Moore, 25, and Dominique D. Lewis, 24, both of the 4200 block of John, and Chanice R. White, 24, of the 2000 block of East Humes Lane.
The women had been inside a two-family brick flat at 4240 John Avenue when attackers burst in, police say. The women tried to escape but were shot inside a blue Buick LeSabre parked nearby.
It “looked like they were laying on top of each other, trying to hide,” said St. Louis Police Lt. John Green, who runs the homicide division. He said a fourth victim, a 32-year-old man, had been in the home, too, but managed to escape.
Police said there were multiple shell casings from different caliber weapons at the scene.
The women became the 201st, 202nd and 203rd homicides of the year in St. Louis.
After a few-day stretch in which the city recorded no killings, four came in about nine hours. On Thursday evening, the city’s 200th victim was a man gunned down at the New Way Market, in the 5400 block of Page Boulevard, about 6:45 p.m. The victim was Mialik R. Donelson, 25, of the 1400 block of Burd Avenue.
Police said he had known his alleged attacker. The incident was caught on surveillance video.
The last time the city saw more than 200 homicides in a single year was 1995, when the total reached 204.
Near the scene of the triple shooting, vacant lots sit on either side of the home and across the street from it.
A woman in a nearby house who was watching TV at about 3 a.m. heard gunshots.
“There were just so many to count,” she said.
She saw a man wearing a hooded sweatshirt, standing in the street and holding a shotgun.
Another resident said she was used to gunfire on that block but typically found out that it was her drunken neighbor firing bullets into the air for fun. With the first few shots — she identified the sound as coming from a pistol — she thought it was her neighbor again.
“Then I heard the shotgun” and knew it wasn’t he, she said.
Police said the three women didn’t have criminal records, only minor infractions such as traffic tickets.
And yet, Green said, at least two people opened fire on the car where they were hiding.
“They were definitely targeted,” he said.