Updated Friday with more details from police.
ST. LOUIS COUNTY • A St. Louis County police officer shot and killed an armed man after a struggle Thursday at an apartment complex in north St. Louis County.
The man was taken to a hospital in critical condition and later was pronounced dead, St. Louis County police Officer Benjamin Granda said in an emailed statement.
Granda said officers were still trying to identify the man Friday.
The shooting happened after two uniformed officers responded to a disturbance call about 5:36 p.m. in the 11100 block of Ruesta Drive, Granda said. The call included few details, but involved a woman demanding a male return her keys and money, Granda said.
The block is in the Oak Park apartment complex near Interstate 270 and Bellefontaine Road.
Officers arrived in marked police vehicles and were directed to a man in an SUV in the parking lot who “appeared to be unresponsive.”
The officer saw a handgun within the man’s reach, opened the front passenger door, and tried to secure the gun, Granda said.
The man then struggled with the officer over the gun and the man began to drive with the officer still in the vehicle, police say.
Police say that during the struggle over the gun, the officer shot the suspect with a department-issued firearm at least one time. Granda said the officer feared for his life in the altercation.
The second officer followed the SUV in his patrol car and eventually pulled in front of the SUV to stop it, Granda said.
The officers removed the man from the SUV and treated his wounds until emergency medical services arrived and took him to a hospital. The man’s gun was recovered by police.
The SUV was reported stolen out of St. Louis on August 6, Granda said. Police did not learn that the vehicle was reported stolen until after the altercation.
Neither officer was injured, Granda said. The officer who shot the man has two years of service with the department. The other officer is in his first year.
Department spokesman Sgt. Shawn McGuire said police did not receive an apartment unit number for the disturbance call and so were “investigating why they were there” when they encountered the man in the vehicle. Police did not say whether the man who was shot had anything to do with the initial disturbance call.
Speaking near the shooting scene, McGuire asked witnesses to step forward and tell police what they saw.
He said it wasn’t yet clear whether the officers identified themselves to the man before the encounter.
Mario Thomas, who claimed to be a friend of the shot man, said he was at the complex at the time of the incident and heard four gunshots. He said he saw that the man inside the vehicle had been shot in the abdomen.
“We just know he was out there,” Thomas said. “He was just sleeping in his car, just regular. Tired, I guess. ... I feel devastated, because I know with all my heart that he didn’t have nothing to do with anything. He was just sleeping in his car like he always do.”
Police asked anyone with information about the incident to call the St. Louis County Police Department at 636-529-8210 .
Callers to CrimeStoppers at 1-866-371-8477 may remain anonymous.
In January, a man was fatally shot in what police said was a drug deal in the Oak Park complex.