UPDATED with June mugshot of man killed by police
ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis County police officer shot and killed a masked carjacking suspect who pointed a gun at him after a pursuit Monday night that ended in St. Louis, officials say.
Aaron Ballard, 19, of Country Club Hills, ran despite being mortally wounded. He fell a short distance away, with a loaded pistol lying at his side, police said. No one else was hurt.
Authorities have refused to identify the officer who shot Ballard.
Police sources said the officer's father, who is not in law enforcement, was riding in the patrol car when the pursuit began and may have witnessed the shooting. A county police spokesman declined to comment on that.
Police said several robbers wearing gloves and masks had taken a gold 2003 Mercedes Benz at gunpoint about 2 a.m. Monday in the 5100 block of Waldo Avenue in Affton. The car’s owner was not hurt.
An officer on patrol in Jennings spotted the Mercedes near Jennings Station and Halls Ferry roads about 10:20 p.m. and pursued it into St. Louis.
The car stopped after a crash near East Lee and Red Bud avenues, a few blocks northwest of Fairground Park. Four people fled from the car, including Ballard, who police said was wearing a mask and rubber gloves and carrying a gun that he pointed at an officer.
Officials did not say how many shots were fired by the officer, 28, who has three years of law enforcement experience. He was the only officer at the shooting.
Ballard collapsed in an alley behind the 4100 block of Lee, where he was pronounced dead. He lived in the 7400 block of Chandler Avenue in Country Club Hills.
Three others who fled the stolen car ran off and were being sought Tuesday.
St. Louis County Police Sgt. Shawn McGuire said that neither the officer nor his police car was equipped with a camera. A pilot program to equip some county officers with body cameras has ended, and no county police cars currently have dashboard cameras.
Department policy allows civilians to ride with officers as long as they are older than 17 and have been approved by the commander.
Two St. Louis city police officers on their way to help with the pursuit were injured when their Chevrolet Tahoe collided with a Chrysler 300 at Union Boulevard and Lillian Avenue, just north of Interstate 70. Two occupants of the Chrysler were also hurt. Police said none of the injuries was life-threatening.
Ballard had been free on bail while facing drug and gun charges. He was arrested June 30 in Callaway County after police received a report that a passenger in an SUV on Interstate 70 was firing shots out a window, according to court documents.
Missouri Highway Patrol troopers found a stolen .45 caliber pistol and a .38 caliber revolver after stopping the SUV, according to charges. Ballard and the driver denied firing the weapons.
Inside a bag Ballard said was his, troopers found a small amount of marijuana, several capsules that appeared to be heroin, two counterfeit $100 bills and two debit cards in someone else’s name, the charges say. He also had a bottle containing the drug Xanax in his pocket.
Ballard was charged then with four felonies and two misdemeanors. His next court date in that case was set for Nov. 4.
Monday night’s shooting was the third involving a St. Louis County officer in 18 days.
On Oct. 6, Officer Blake Snyder answered a disturbance call in Green Park, in south St. Louis County, and was shot to death. Suspect Trenton Forster, 18, was wounded by another officer’s return fire and has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action.
On Thursday night, a St. Louis County police officer was shot in the arm as he tried to arrest an assault suspect at a home in the Castle Point neighborhood of north St. Louis County. Jo’von L. Mitchell, 28, has been charged in that case.
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.