ST. LOUIS – A St. Louis police officer who was under investigation in a child pornography case jumped out of a police car, ran away, and killed himself, authorities said Wednesday.
The officer's name was not released. He was 37 and had been with the department for 2 1/2 years, city police spokeswoman Erica Van Ross said.
St. Louis County police went to the officer's home in south St. Louis County on Tuesday.
"We had received an IP address belonging to a computer at that residence associated with child pornography, either the possession or transfer of it," Panus said. "We went there to serve the search warrant."
The officer wasn't home but provided a key when investigators tracked him down. Panus said the computer and personal papers were seized, but the officer was not arrested.
Later Tuesday, members of the city police Internal Affairs division picked up the officer and were driving him to police headquarters. Van Ross said he was being taken in for two reasons: To await results of the county search of his computer and papers, and for questioning about why he apparently lived in the county when city officers are required to live in the city.
Suddenly, just blocks from police headquarters, the officer jumped out of the car and ran, Van Ross said. Police searched but couldn't find him.
Hours later, a resident called 911 after finding the officer, reportedly behind a church. He had a self-inflicted gunshot wound, Van Ross said. Police transported the officer to Saint Louis University Hospital, where he died.
Van Ross said the officer was not technically in custody so he was not handcuffed or restrained in the police car. Police Chief Dan Isom has ordered a review of protocol to see if changes should be made in the method of transporting people to the Internal Affairs Division.