ST. LOUIS • A man who attempted to rob a gas station just off Interstate 55 at Arsenal Street late Tuesday was fatally shot by an off-duty officer, police said.
The shooting is the fourth fatal one involving St. Louis police in the last five weeks. All of them have been in south St. Louis.
Authorities identified the would-be robber in Tuesday night’s shootout as Chazz Brown, 33. Police said his last known legal address was in Columbia, Mo. According to court records, he lived in the McKinley Heights neighborhood of St. Louis about a decade ago.
Interim Police Chief Lawrence O’Toole briefed reporters early Wednesday at the Shell gas station, in the 1800 block of Arsenal.
The officer involved had just gotten off work and was inside the store with two clerks and another customer at about 11:40 p.m., O’Toole said. That’s when Brown walked in, pulled out a gun and demanded money, O’Toole said.
Police said the officer, who was in street clothes, identified himself before Brown turned toward the officer and began shooting. The officer fired back.
Brown was pronounced dead at the scene. A handgun believed to have been used by him was recovered.
No one other than Brown was injured, O’Toole said. The officer who shot him is a seven-year veteran of the force, the chief said. The officer will be placed on administrative leave.
He also said that the clerks, other witnesses and video evidence from the scene corroborated the officer’s version of events.
A witness told the Post-Dispatch he was pumping gas when he heard gunfire inside the gas station and dropped to the ground. He said he saw an officer near the front door who was pointing a gun toward the restrooms in the station.
Just after the gunfire, the witness said, several officers converged on the gas station. Police quickly cordoned off the site.
The business hosts a police substation and people at the scene said there are usually police officers there. They use the substation to write reports and make calls. It is in the Benton Park neighborhood and just across I-55 from the Anheuser-Busch Brewery.
Between 2006 and 2009, Brown pleaded guilty to numerous charges, including felony theft, second-degree robbery, armed criminal action, stealing a motor vehicle and third-degree assault.
The shooting is the only one of the four recent police shootings in the city to involve an off-duty officer.
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 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 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.
Tuesday’s shooting came the same day an officer in Jerseyville was critically injured in a shootout with a burglary suspect. The suspect was killed.
Allison Colburn of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.