UPDATED at 4:15 p.m. with mug shots.
MARYLAND HEIGHTS — A veteran Maryland Heights police officer was shot twice in the leg early Thursday when he and another officer confronted a man breaking into a car outside an apartment complex, police said.
The plainclothes officer, who had been watching the complex from an unmarked police car, was shot about 3:45 a.m. in the 2100 block of Gallery Drive, near Bennington Place. The wounded officer’s partner returned fire but did not hit anyone.
Other officers who quickly descended on the area ran after the gunman and another suspect, arresting both.
The injured officer, 38, was stable at a hospital.
“He’s expected to make a full recovery,” Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson said.
The suspected gunman, Menuis T. Ellis, 17, of Pine Lawn, was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and stealing. His bond was set at $1 million.
Suspected gunman Menuis T. Ellis, 17, of Pine Lawn, was charged Thursday with two counts of first-degree assault, armed criminal action and stealing.
The other suspect, Davina E. Parker, 26, of Jennings, was charged with stealing. Her bond was set at $2,500.
The unidentified officer has been with the Maryland Heights force for nine years and had been with another agency for three or four years before that. His partner, with eight years’ experience, was unhurt.
Carson said the two officers were part of a special assignment in the predawn hours, working to curb a rash of car break-ins in Maryland Heights. Last week alone, there were about 20 car break-ins in Maryland Heights, and guns were stolen in two of those cases, said Maryland Heights Police Officer Erica Stough.
The police chief said guns left behind in vehicles are the bounty of thieves, ramping up the danger for police.
“That’s another thing that’s really scary for our officers,” Carson said. “Because we’re getting so many guns stolen out of cars, the people that we’re encountering that are breaking into cars are armed, which makes it even more scary.”
The two officers, who were in a parked, unmarked police vehicle, said after they saw Ellis breaking into a car, they confronted him and identified themselves as police.
“The suspect turned and opened fire on both officers,” Carson said.
Carson said he didn’t know how many shots in all were fired.
Erin Heffernan of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.