A police chase left a man dead after he fired his gun at a police officer who was trying to help him.
Police say a St. John officer followed a speeding car early Thursday, and the vehicle eventually crashed into a guard railing about 2:30 a.m. and caught fire near the intersection of Woodson Rd. and Natural Bridge.
The officer attempted to rescue one man and two women inside the burning vehicle, but when he approached the car, the man in the front seat took out a handgun and shot the officer once in the chest. He was wearing a bulletproof vest and suffered from non-life threatening injuries, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Authorities say officers returned fire. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, it was not immediately clear if the man died from the crash or gunshot wounds.
Police say officers then heard a woman yelling from the car. They pulled the woman to safety, and brought her and another woman inside the car to the hospital. One of the women was treated for severe burns. The other was okay and cooperating with police.
At least five shell casings were discovered near the vehicle, KMOV.com reports.
Police were outside a home in St. John around 9 a.m. Thursday, where the deceased suspect had been staying, according to St. Louis County Police Officer Brian Schellman.
The unidentified officer who was injured in the shooting has been released from the hospital, said St. John Mayor Tom Halaska told the Post-Dispatch.
Investigators are trying to determine why the vehicle was driving at a high speed before it crashed, or why they were shot at.
According to the county’s crime-scene unit, the cars ended up facing west on Natural Bridge, and hit a sign and went through a fence before striking the guardrail, which runs along eastbound Interstate 70.
(Photo via St. Louis Post-Dispatch)