RICHMOND HEIGHTS — A painter working an overnight shift at an Italian restaurant shot and wounded a man who broke into the restaurant early Thursday and charged toward the painter, police said.
The shooting occurred about 3:40 a.m. at Maggiano’s Little Italy, at 22 The Boulevard St. Louis.
The suspect, a 45-year-old man from Arnold, was taken to a hospital and underwent surgery after being shot in the hip, Richmond Heights police Capt. Joe Zimmermann said.
Zimmermann said the suspect was expected to survive.
The painter who shot him was taken to police headquarters, questioned by detectives and released. Zimmermann said the shooting appears to be justified as a case of self-defense but that detectives ultimately will present their findings to the county prosecutor.
“We’ll be investigating all angles,” he said.
The painter was uninjured but shaken, Zimmermann said.
Two painters were working in the restaurant when the man forced his way inside. The intruder was a burly man, outweighing the painter with the gun by about 80 pounds, Zimmermann said.
To get inside the building, the intruder forced open the locked front door.
“He threw his body into it three different times before he got inside,” Zimmermann said.
One of the painters called 911 and was on the phone with a dispatcher as the other painter, a 45-year-old man, yelled at the man to leave. The intruder then charged at the painter who was yelling, police said.
The painter shot him.
“When (the suspect) charged at him he thought he would lose his gun, so he fired one shot,” Zimmermann said.
The wounded man was conscious when police arrived and was taken to the hospital for surgery. Detectives haven’t been able to talk with him to figure out his motives.
“We’re not sure why he was trying to get into the restaurant,” Zimmermann said.
Richmond Heights police said they haven’t encountered the suspect for any crimes before. Zimmermann said the intruder has had run-ins with law enforcement in Arnold, but he didn’t know specifics.
Police plan to book the suspect on suspicion of assault and burglary.