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ST. LOUIS Six men were injured Thursday night in three separate shootings across the city within an hour and a half, including an exchange of gunfire during an alleged robbery.

The earliest shooting occurred about 5:30 p.m. near Union Boulevard and Wells Avenue.

A man in his 20s was shot there while he was in a car that had apparently been traveling south on Union. The car had hit a tree just off the roadway.

Investigators set up at least 20 evidence markers near the car at the scene, which is in the Academy neighborhood.

Residents said they heard several gunshots. A man who lives on the block said he had been walking toward his home at the time of the shooting. He was about two blocks away at a gas station on Union north of Martin Luther King Drive when he heard several loud gunshots. He arrived home to find the street taped off.

“Another five minutes and I might’ve been caught in it,” said the man, who didn’t want to give his name. “It’s just sad.”

One man was critically injured in a double shooting about 6 p.m. near Ohio and Park avenues in The Gate District neighborhood.

The man, who had been shot several times in the chest, turned up at a hospital with another man who had been hit in the leg, police said. His condition wasn’t provided but police said he was stable.

About 6:45 p.m., a robbery victim and two people believed to be suspects in the crime were injured in an exchange of gunfire, police said. The incident happened in the parking lot of a gas station near North Florissant Avenue and Madison Street just inside the St. Louis Place neighborhood.

Police said the robbery victim was shot in the shoulder and returned fire, hitting one suspect in the leg and the other in the stomach.

All three men were taken to a hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, Lt. Ken Lammert said at the scene.

The robbery victim was first in line to buy something at the gas station, which serves customers through a window, when another man walked up behind him and took a gun the victim had in a pants pocket, Lammert said.

The victim has a concealed-carry permit, he said. The gun was in a front pants pocket but visible to the alleged robber.

The robber started to back away to a car with an accomplice, when the victim pulled a second gun on him, Lammert said. The suspect shot the victim with the gun he had taken and the victim returned fire, hitting both the robber and his accomplice.

All three had left the gas station by the time police arrived . Police were later called to the victim’s home about two blocks away, and the two suspects turned up at a hospital.

The robbery victim’s gun and at least one other gun were recovered from the suspects’ car, Lammert said. Investigators are reviewing security video from the gas station.

Due to the number of shootings, investigators at the scene ran out of evidence markers at one point and temporarily used caps of flare canisters to mark evidence.

Reporter covering breaking news and crime by night. Born in Algeria but grew up in St. Louis. Previously reported for The Associated Press in Jackson, Mississippi and at the Wichita Eagle in Wichita, Kansas.

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