WELLSTON • A MetroLink security officer was wounded by a gunman who was then shot by police shortly after 2 p.m. Thursday at the commuter station in Wellston.
The 29-year-old male officer’s wound was reported to be through the shoulder and not regarded as life-threatening, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.
The man who allegedly shot him was hit by three shots fired by county officers and was reported to be hospitalized in critical condition. Nobody else was hurt.
Metro spokeswoman Patti Beck said the wounded officer had been enforcing fare payments at the platform along Plymouth Avenue, west of North Skinker Parkway.
Belmar said the armed, uniformed Metro guard on the platform was shot after confronting a man, 22, who had no ticket. A train with two county officers on a Metro security detail was pulling into the station as it happened.
“They heard a gunshot, they saw the security officer lying on the ground,” he said. “After seeing blood, and hearing witnesses saying he was shot, then they pursued the suspect.”
He said witnesses helped guide the officers to the gunman who ran north and tried to get into a stranger’s car before its driver sped away. The man continued to run, ignoring police commands to stop, and was shot, the chief said. He said a gun of the same caliber that wounded the guard was found with the suspect.
A bystander’s video shows a tense confrontation between police and some people in the area in the moments just after the shooting — including an officer’s spraying of one man with pepper spray.
That man, Steven Jones, 30, told a reporter that he and some other passengers had fled the train as it was stopped in the station, because an argument between the Metro officer and the other man on the platform was becoming loud and aggressive. He said it had something to do with a $2 transfer.
As those two men wrestled, Jones said, the Metro officer reached for a gun and the other man pulled a pistol, shot him and ran. Jones said the two county police officers from the train chased the man and fired about 30 shots.
Jones, of St. Louis County, said he saw the suspect throw down his gun and lay on the ground before being shot.
Jones said he was protesting to police that they should not have fired when one of them sprayed him.
But another witness, who declined to give his name, said the suspect was on his feet when he was shot. That witness said he was dropping off a passenger at the platform when he saw a guard blocking a man who shot him. The witness estimated that police fired 10 shots.
Belmar told reporters the officers fired several shots and stopped shooting when the suspect fell. One of the officers has been on the force four years, he said, and the other six.
Police planned to review security video at the station. It was not clear whether cameras cover the area where police shot the suspect.
MetroLink passengers were bused between the Delmar Loop and UMSL stations during the investigation, causing about an hour’s travel delay.
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.