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Officer shoots man armed with sword, handgun in south St. Louis County, police say

Officer shoots man armed with sword, handgun in south St. Louis County, police say


Police officers answering a call early Sunday morning shot and critically injured a man holding a handgun and a sword who refused to drop his weapons, police said.

St. Louis County Police answered a call at 6:37 a.m. from the 7700 block of Harlan Avenue. The home is near the historic Oakland House, southwest of the River Des Peres and northeast of the intersection of Heege and Mackenzie roads. Sgt. Shawn McGuire, a police spokesman, said the caller did not specify a particular need and did not answer calls back from dispatchers.

Three police officers responded to the call, and got no answer when they knocked on the door. One of the officers looked through a window, where he saw a man approaching the door with a handgun in one hand and a sword in the other. He shouted a warning to the other two officers, McGuire said.

The man opened the door and let a dog out as the officers stepped back, McGuire said. The dog, described as a pit bull, did not go near the officers and was not injured.

The officers tried to get the man to talk to them, but the effort failed.

The man stepped onto the porch, still holding both weapons. Officers directed him to drop them and he ignored the commands. McGuire said one officer shot the man, striking him several times.

“Obviously when somebody walks out of their front porch with a sword and a handgun, that puts officers in a tough spot,” McGuire said.

The injured man was taken to a hospital, where he underwent surgery and remained in critical and unstable condition, McGuire said. McGuire did not have information about where the man, in his late 30s, was struck by gunfire.

Police recovered the gun and the sword; no officers were injured.

The officer who shot the man has been with the police department for eight years, McGuire said. The incident is under investigation by the department’s Bureau of Crimes Against Persons.

McGuire said he did not know if the man who was shot is the same person who made the initial call to police.

The anniversary of the death of Officer Blake Snyder also is nearing, McGuire said, which is on the minds of other officers in the department. Snyder was gunned down while answering a call in south St. Louis County on Oct. 6, 2016.

“When I wake up to a phone call that we had an officer-involved shooting again, that was already in our minds leading up to the one-year anniversary,” McGuire said. “Like I said, we do a difficult job.”

McGuire said the man was apparently at the home alone, with two dogs. Both dogs were safe.

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Ashley Jost is the higher education reporter for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

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