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Hayden speaks to reporters

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden speaks to reporters outside St. Louis University Hospital the night of Sept. 22 after a police recruit was hit by a stray bullet fired by an officer. Photo by Erin Heffernan of the Post-Dispatch. 

UPDATED at 8:30 p.m. with additional information

ST. LOUIS • A St. Louis police recruit in training was hit by a stray bullet fired by an officer aiming at a dog during a “ride-along” Saturday, police said.

The victim was shot in the left wrist about 5:45 p.m. and was taken to a hospital with injuries that were not life-threatening, Police Chief John Hayden said at a news conference Saturday night.

The recruit, a 29-year-old woman set to graduate from the academy next month, was accompanying two officers and another recruit when they were called to a disturbance at a home in the 7700 block of Alaska Avenue in the Carondelet neighborhood, Hayden said.

A woman opened the door and did not restrain a pit bull before it lunged at the officers, Hayden said. A 31-year-old male officer began shooting at the dog when a round struck the recruit, Hayden said.

The recruits were standing behind the officer when he began shooting but may have moved during the gunfire, Hayden said.

The dog was picked up by the Humane Society of Missouri, but police didn’t know Saturday night whether it survived.

The department’s Force Investigation Unit will investigate the shooting, Hayden said.

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The injured recruit was expected to be released from the hospital Saturday night and graduate on time Oct. 11.

The officer who fired the shot has been with the department for 6½ years. Neither officer nor the other recruit was injured.


EDITOR'S NOTE: This story was updated Monday morning as police corrected age of officer who fired his weapon and years he has been with the department.

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Erin Heffernan • 314-340-8145

@erinheff on Twitter

eheffernan@post-dispatch.com