ST. LOUIS — Minutes after taking a car from a mother and her three young children in Soulard, a carjacker was killed early Tuesday when the car crashed a few blocks away.
His two accomplices, hurt in the crash, were arrested nearby.
The carjacking was reported at 10th and Lami streets at 1:54 a.m. Tuesday when three men stole a 2008 GMC Acadia at gunpoint from a 28-year-old woman accompanied by her three sons, ages 3, 5 and 8, police said. The woman and children weren't hurt.
The carjackers only got about six blocks before crashing into a tractor-trailer at Seventh Boulevard and Barton Street, police said. The crash was reported at 2:03 a.m. It’s on the border between Soulard and the Kosciusko neighborhood of St. Louis. Seventh Boulevard is the dividing line.
One of the suspected carjackers, a 20-year-old man, was pronounced dead at the scene. The two other men, ages 18 and 22, were taken into custody and transported to a hospital with injuries. Police have not released the names of any suspects.
Police said investigators found a firearm and suspected narcotics at the scene.
Homicide detectives with the St. Louis Police Department are investigating, along with the department’s accident-reconstruction team. Under Missouri law, prosecutors can file murder charges against the accomplices if someone dies during the commission of a felony, even if the accomplices did not directly cause the death.
Carjackings are up in St. Louis this year, compared with last year. St. Louis city is averaging nearly one carjacking a day. Through Monday, there had been 296 carjackings this year in the city, said St. Louis Police Officer Michelle Woodling. There were 277 carjackings the same time last year, she said.
In Soulard alone, there were three carjackings in that neighborhood through the end of September, compared with five between January and September of 2018.
Total crime in the Soulard neighborhood, from April through September this year, is down nearly 12%, compared to the same six-month period last year. Total crime includes violent crimes and property crimes. Carjacking is classified under robbery, a violent crime.
In 2018, the Post-Dispatch published a story about the spike in carjackings. Richard Wright, the chair of the Criminal Justice and Criminology Department at Georgia State University, published a paper on carjacking in St. Louis in 2003, when he was working at the University of Missouri-St. Louis
Wright said carjacking has become increasingly popular over the last decade, in part because technology is making it harder to steal parked cars. Many can’t be driven without a key fob nearby.