A black off-duty St. Louis police officer was shot by a white on-duty police officer from the same department who apparently mistook him for a fleeing suspect, according to a statement from the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, CBS News reports. A total of seven officers have been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
Meanwhile, the on-duty officer, who is a 36-year-old white male, told the city he feared for his safety, according to Fox 2 Now.
A black off-duty police officer was wounded after being shot when he stepped outside of his home to assist in response to a stolen auto crashing in his neighborhood, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Thursday. However, shortly after their exchange, both of the uniformed officers recognized the officer and instructed him to walk toward them, according to a St. Louis Police Department report of the incident.
It all started when a high-speed police chase ensued of a stolen vehicle with three teenage suspects.
To add to the confusion, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the shooting victim was initially described to reporters by Interim Police Chief Lawrence O'Toole as an off-duty police officer who had been caught in the cross-fire between the fleeing stolen vehicle suspects and pursuing St. Louis officers.
Two suspects were arrested. Neither of the officers' names have been released.
The St. Louis Police Department has a lot of explaining to do - though explaining doesn't seem to be their forte.
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The third suspect remains at-large.
Local station Fox 2 Now reported that the incident began shortly after 10 p.m. when a police recognition system spotted a stolen auto from Maryland Heights, spurring the vehicle chase.
'This has been a national discussion for the past two years'.
Police on the scene told the off-duty officer to get on the ground and surrender. The occupants of the vehicle fired at the officers who were following them.
But the department later confirmed the frustrating circumstances leading to the officer's injury.
The vehicle stopped near Park and Astra Avenues when police say shots were exchanged.
The injured off-duty officer was treated at a hospital and released Thursday. The Castile case has highlighted a fear that there may be no justice for black Americans killed in police shootings, advocates say. In 2013, according to online Federal Bureau of Investigation figures, only two officers were killed when mistakenly shot as a result of crossfire, mistaken for a subject, or involved in other firearm mishaps.