Two charged in overnight shooting after officer wounded by friendly fire

According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch and local news outlet Fox2Now, a white St. Louis police officer shot a black off-duty officer from his own force after a vehicle chase ended in a crash outside the off-duty officer's home.

According to Fox 2 Now, the officer who fired at his colleague told investigators he feared for his safety and didn't recognize the man as one of their own.

A white St. Louis police officer responding to the scene at the end of a stolen vehicle chase opened fire on and wounded a black off-duty police officer in what is being called a case of "friendly fire" by the St. Louis Police Department. Two officers ordered him to the ground, and he complied. As he was doing that, a fourth officer arrived on the scene and shot the off-duty officer in the arm. The three suspects inside the stolen auto opened fire, hitting police vehicles, and officers backed off but continued to chase the auto. The situation was already tense, as police officers exchanged gunfire with the three teens who had bailed out of the wrecked vehicle. Police arrested two of the three suspects and say all three are black. The third remains at large.

That's when the off-duty officer, who is African-American, heard the commotion and walked from his nearby home to assist his fellow officers.

The news comes after authorities released dash cam footage on Tuesday of Philando Castile's shooting by St. Anthony Police Officer Jeronimo Yanez in Minnesota. His assailant, who is white, is 36 years old and has been with the department for eight years.

The injured off-duty officer is described as a 38-year-old man with 11 years of service. "There is this perception that a black man is automatically feared", Tate says. So we have a real problem with that.

The police department has given no description of a threat, he said. Officers backed off, but still followed the path of the vehicle. But this has been a national discussion for the past two years.

The officer was injured in the arm and was sent to a hospital in St Louis, Missouri. She expressed relief that the officer was in good condition.

The outlet also reported that, "It's unclear if the on-duty officer is on administrative leave".

Federal Bureau of Investigation statistics show such accidental police-on-police shootings occur at a low rate given the tense, confusing circumstances officers routinely face.

  • Larry Hoffman