ST. LOUIS • An off-duty city police officer was fatally shot early this morning as he attempted to stop a gun battle outside a downtown St. Louis nightclub, police said.
Daryl Hall, 34 years old and a five-year department veteran, was struck by bullets in the neck and arm about 2:30 a.m. today outside The Label at Fourth and Gratiot streets, just blocks from Busch Stadium, police said.
The incident began when two customers were escorted out of the club after an altercation, according to police.
Hall, who was inside as a patron, then heard gunshots and ran outside to investigate, police said. He spotted a man firing a handgun and pulled out his own weapon. Witnesses said Hall identified himself as a police officer and ordered the man to drop his weapon, but the man refused, according to police.
Gunfire erupted between Hall and the man, latter identified as Asif Blake of Hazelwood, with a nightclub security guard also opening fire, according to police.
Hall, assigned to the police housing authority unit, was pronounced dead at St. Louis University hospital.
Blake, 30, was pronounced dead at the scene from multiple gunshot wounds, police said.
The security guard, described by police as a 30-year-old male, was not injured. He was interviewed by homicide detectives and released.
Three guns were recovered from the scene.
Hall joined the St. Louis force in July 2006. He was a patrolman in the sixth district before joining the housing authority unit. He is survived by his mother, stepfather and a brother, according to the police department. Funeral services were being finalized.
A co-owner of The Label, Chris Little, issued a statement noting Hall was a regular visitor at the bar.
"This tragedy has deeply hurt us as well as shed new light on the extreme issues that our community is facing each day with ignorance and crime," Little said.