A St. Louis County police officer was shot and killed in the pre-dawn hours of Thursday morning shortly after arriving at a reported domestic disturbance. The suspect was shot and remains in critical condition.
St. Louis County Police Officer Blake Snyder, 33, arrived at a home in Green Park, a suburb of Affton, Missouri, were a resident had called 911 to report a man trying to enter the home. Almost immediately, the suspect reportedly produced a pistol and “shot Officer Snyder point blank,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told a reporter from KMOV CBS4.
A second officer arrived on the scene as Snyder was shot. That officer returned fire, striking the suspect several times. The officer and the suspect were transported to area hospitals. Officer Snyder died from his single gunshot wound while the suspect remains in critical condition.
“From the time the suspect made it from the house to car, that’s where Officer Snyder encountered him,” Chief Belmar told reporters. “Officer Snyder, we believe at this point in the investigation, gave the suspect some commands because he couldn’t see his hands. The suspect produced a pistol and he shot Officer Snyder point-blank. It was an immediately fatal wound.”
The chief told reporters that paramedics worked diligently to save the officer. Doctors at St. Anthony’s Hospital worked on the dying officer for more than an hour, but were unsuccessful in their efforts.
Breitbart Texas reached out to the St. Louis County Police Department for more information about the alleged shooter. A response was not immediately available. The only description currently available is that the alleged shooter is an 18-year-old male, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported on Thursday morning. An update to that story indicates the 911 call came from the house of a girl who had a relationship with the reported suspect.
St. Louis County Police Sergeant Shawn McGuire told the Post-Dispatch reporters that Snyder has been shot one time in the chin at “very close range.” The incident occurred shortly after a 5 a.m. 911 call reported a man banging on the doors of a house trying to get in. Officer Snyder radioed minutes later that he had arrived at the scene.
Chief Belmar told reporters in a press conference that the suspect was sitting in the driver’s seat of a car when Officer Snyder arrived. The officer reportedly ordered the suspect to show his hands. Sgt. McGuire told the reporters the suspect then pulled a gun and fired one time, striking Snyder in the chin. Neither of the officers were wearing body cameras and the police cars are not equipped with dash cameras.
McGuire said the suspect was the target of a drug investigation that Officer Snyder was involved in. He did not say if that played a role in the shooting. Responding to questions, Sgt. McGuire said the suspect was shot “a lot.” He is listed in critical but stable condition.
The home is in a middle-class community. One neighbor, Mike Miller, told the Post-Dispatch reporters the home where the shooting occurred was one of the few trouble spots in the neighborhood. He told the reporters that a woman with a teenager and other children live there and the house is suspected of being a drug house. He said two youths were caught smoking marijuana in a car outside the home recently.
Former Missouri State Representative Vicki Englund, who also currently serves on the local school board, also lives near the home where the shooting occurred. She was awakened to the sound of gunfire shortly after 5 a.m. Thursday. She heard the shots and then the voice of what she believed to be a police officer yelling orders at someone to get back in their home.
“I heard couple shots then a pause then I heard 10 or so in a row and someone yell ‘Get back in the house’ or ‘Are you gonna get back in the house?’ in a very strong, controlled voice,” she told the local newspaper. “And then a few more shots.”
A post on the county police department’s Facebook page stated Officer Snyder was a four-year veteran. He leaves behind a grieving widow and a son. While a GoFundMe page has been established by a Facebook user, the department officially request that anyone wishing to make a donation do so through the local Backstoppers organization.
Officer Snyder is the 97th law enforcement officer to die in the line of duty this year, according to the Officer Down Memorial Page. He is the 42nd to be killed by gunfire. He was the 10th St. Louis County police officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1955 – the first since the Halloween night shooting of Sergeant Richard Weinhold, 44, who was also responding to a disturbance call.