ST. LOUIS • Police said an officer shot and killed a man who had stabbed an officer inside an apartment Tuesday morning.
But a woman who said she was related by marriage to the person killed said that person was a transgender woman named Kenneth “Kiwi” Herring. The relative, Crevonda Nance, said police shot and killed Herring shortly after responding to the latest dispute in an ongoing feud between Herring and unfriendly neighbors.
Speaking just after the shooting, Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole said the officer suffered a cut to his arm during the encounter. The injured officer was taken to a hospital and was expected to be treated and released.
Officers went to the two-family flat in the 5200 block of Ridge Avenue, east of Union Boulevard in the Academy neighborhood, about 8 a.m. after getting two calls about a stabbing, O’Toole said.
Officers arrived to find a stabbing victim, 30, who had severe lacerations to his face, arms and torso. He told police the name of the person who stabbed him, and he said the suspect was in the apartment next door.
When officers tried to arrest the suspect, also 30, the suspect stabbed one of the officers with a large kitchen knife, police said.
“The suspect flourished a knife and slashed at the officers, slicing the one officer on the arm,” O’Toole said.
The injured officer and his partner both fired their weapons, striking the suspect multiple times, killing the person. Police did not release the name of the person who died.
Police said the original stabbing victim was listed in serious but stable condition, but they did not elaborate on the relationship he had to the suspect.
A woman, 28, was arrested at the scene, police said. Authorities said in a statement Tuesday afternoon that she “had some involvement in the assault” of the first stabbing victim. Her role wasn’t clear.
A young child, 2 or 3 years old, was at the scene but unhurt, police said.
The original dispute that resulted in the stabbing and the call for police may be connected to a fire at the building earlier in the morning, O’Toole said.
Fire Capt. Garon Mosby said firefighters responded to the address shortly after 2 a.m. Tuesday after charcoal from a barbecue pit on a second floor balcony fell out of the pit, caught fire and caused “minor damage” to both the second- and first-floor porches.
Police weren’t notified. “There was no indication of any type of disturbance,” Mosby said. It wasn’t clear why police thought there could be a connection to the crime. O’Toole said that was part of the investigation.
Nance joined about three dozen people at a candlelight vigil at the shooting scene Tuesday night protesting the shooting and other recent fatal ones by St. Louis police. She and the others questioned whether police had targeted the correct aggressor in the dispute.
Nance said Herring was married to the 28-year-old woman arrested at the scene. She said that the woman, like Herring, was transgender and that both had been harassed and felt threatened since they moved to the neighborhood from Mississippi several years ago. She said they were raising three boys, the oldest being 8.
Nance said she had spoken to Herring moments before the shooting and that Herring had expressed frustration with neighbors.
Nance said Herring often asked her: “Why can’t people judge me for what I am or what I do instead of what I look like or what they think I should look like?”
Neighbors said Herring had worked as a nurse or caregiver.
O’Toole spoke to reporters outside the entrance to the hospital where the injured officer was taken. The officer, 32, has been with the department for seven years. The officer’s partner is 38 and has been on the force for nine years.
O’Toole said police had been to the building early this year for domestic issues.
Schron Jackson, a police spokeswoman, said Tuesday night that police based their gender identification on the fact that the suspect was dressed as a man and had government-issued identification that listed gender as male. She said the suspect’s gender identification could be officially revised if relatives confirm the suspect identified as female.
Tuesday's shooting was the sixth fatal officer-involved shooting in St. Louis since May.
On May 10, a woman was shot and killed by an officer after pointing a gun at police in the 3600 block of Wilmington Avenue, a few blocks north of Carondelet Park.
On May 26, a man who threatened to harm police and commit suicide was fatally shot by an officer during an exchange of gunfire at the man’s home in the 4800 block of Hamburg Avenue.
On June 7, SWAT officers shot and killed a man who police said opened fire on them with an AK-47 as they tried to serve a warrant at a home on South Kingshighway.
On June 13, an off-duty officer fatally shot a man attempting to rob a gas station just off Interstate 55 and Arsenal Street after the officer identified himself to the man as police and the man shot at him.
On July 20, a man who fled from a stolen vehicle being pursued by police was fatally shot by an officer after he pointed a gun at police.
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.