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Off-duty St. Louis sheriff's deputy kills carjacking suspect

Off-duty St. Louis sheriff's deputy kills carjacking suspect

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY — An off-duty St. Louis city sheriff’s deputy driving to work Monday fatally shot a carjacking suspect who tried to run over a man and his 10-year-old grandson on a north St. Louis County sidewalk, authorities said.

The shooting took place between two homes in the 11000 block of Bellefontaine Road, north of Interstate 270. The scene is in unincorporated St. Louis County, in the Spanish Lake area.

The suspect died at a hospital, police said. His name and age haven’t been released.

The shooting happened about 6:45 a.m. Monday after the suspect wrecked a pickup he had just stolen and the deputy chased him between the homes.

Sheriff Vernon Betts said the 19-year veteran of the sheriff’s office called him from the scene, shaken. “There was some kind of altercation,” Betts told the Post-Dispatch.

Betts said the 51-year-old deputy is a sergeant in charge of the security detail at the Carnahan Courthouse and the civil courts building in downtown St. Louis. He said the deputy is a smart and trusted supervisor who had never shot anyone before.

“In the process of all this, he was attacked by the guy,” Betts said.

St. Louis County police are investigating the shooting and didn’t provide details on what happened immediately before the deputy fired his gun. A county police spokeswoman said she didn’t know if the suspect had pulled a weapon on the deputy or if a weapon had been recovered at the scene.

The spokeswoman, Tracy Panus, said the suspect had some kind of weapon when minutes earlier he had carjacked a black Dodge Ram pickup from a 67-year-old man in the parking lot of a McDonald’s restaurant at 11111 Bellefontaine Road.

The carjacking victim and his 10-year-old grandson then began walking on the sidewalk, heading south. The fleeing pickup suddenly made a U-turn on Bellefontaine Road and headed toward the victim by going north in the southbound lanes, Panus said. The pickup veered onto the sidewalk and hit the man, Panus said. The pickup apparently missed the grandson.

Panus said the victim was taken to a hospital with nonlife-threatening injuries. The boy was not physically hurt.

The sheriff’s deputy was in uniform and driving his personal vehicle south on Bellefontaine when he saw the pickup hit the man, authorities said. The pickup crashed in a yard of a home several feet from the sidewalk and the suspect ran off, Panus said. That’s when the deputy ran after the man and shot him, she said.

“We don’t know a lot about the shooting at this point,” Panus said.

Asked if the suspect tried to intentionally run over the man and grandson, Panus said, “I can’t get into his mind, but I would say that if you make a U-turn and drive into opposing traffic into a sidewalk, I would say it’s pretty apparent what your intentions are.”

The shooting happened between the homes at 11061 and 11075 Bellefontaine Road. Trees and a sloping hill obscure the view from the street of where the man was shot. A Pizza Hut is to the south and the McDonald’s is to the north. Across the street is a Schnucks grocery store.

Police were contacting stores on the block to ask about surveillance cameras that might have caught the incident on video.

The deputy is on administrative leave while county police investigate the shooting, Betts said.

Kim Bell covers breaking news for STLtoday.com and the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Follow her on Twitter here.

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