A St. Louis police officer shot and killed a robbery suspect at a Kentucky Fried Chicken restaurant Sunday evening after police said the suspect raised his gun at the officer.
The unidentified sergeant, a 42-year-old who is a 13-year veteran of the force, came within a few feet of the suspect as he approached the restaurant to investigate a report of a robbery-in-progress, the officer’s attorney, Brian Millikan, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the suspect pointed his gun at the officer, the sergeant yelled, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” Millikan said.
“If he didn’t take action, the suspect was going to shoot him,” Millikan said. “He didn’t have any choice.”
The officer was not injured during the incident.
Millikan said the officer was at a gas station near the restaurant at about 6 p.m. when he was flagged down by a witness who reported the attempted robbery. The sergeant had just finished monitoring a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march where Black Lives Matter activists were protesting police shootings, according to the Post-Dispatch.
“These marches are at the forefront of just about every policeman’s mind and nobody thinks they’re ever going to be the ones that will be involved in something like this,” Millikan said.
Lt. Col. Lawrence O’Toole said police recovered cash from the robbery and a gun from the suspect, 52, who was pronounced dead at the scene. O’Toole said there were multiple witnesses and video footage of the incident; however, the sergeant involved in the shooting was not wearing a body camera.
“Everything appears to be exactly as we’ve heard from witnesses who are cooperating with the investigation,” he told the Post-Dispatch.
The Force Investigation Unit is looking into the shooting.
“There’s a number of witnesses to this incident and I think they’re all going to say the same thing -- that the individual was in there with a handgun,” O’Toole said. “No one made him do that, and those are choices, poor choices with bad consequences. When you determine you’re going to take on criminal activity, you assume the risks that go along with that.”