Police officer involved in south St. Louis shooting; one person dead

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ST. LOUIS (KPLR) – A St. Louis Police Officer shot and killed Ledarius Williams, 23, of South St. Louis, police confirmed, Tuesday.

It happened around 3:30 in the afternoon in the 4100 block of Minnesota, police said.

Chief Sam Dotson said the two officers involved feared for their lives.

News 11 confirmed Williams had been shot by police before:  May 29th, 2009.

A female officer shot him in the leg.  He was not seriously hurt.

Court and prison records show Williams was sentenced to 14 years in prison for that incident.  He admitted he pointed a gun at police and pleaded guilty to 2 counts of assault on a law enforcement officer.

Residents near Tuesday's shooting scene say Williams had recently been paroled on that offense.  He would have served about 5 and ½ years of the 14 year sentence.

Here's the police account of what happened, Tuesday:

"Officers were patrolling the area when they observed the suspect, who they know from the neighborhood, acting suspiciously. The officers turned their vehicle around and when the suspect saw the officers, he fled, holding his waistband as he ran. The officers engaged in a foot pursuit, following the suspect as he ran down a gangway on Meramec, then through an alley. The suspect then exited the alley at Minnesota and hid behind a bush in an attempt to elude the officers. As the officers approached the suspect to arrest him, the suspect attempted to flee from the bush, down another gangway, and a hands-on struggle ensued. As the officers struggled with the suspect on the ground, the suspect produced a handgun. The officers attempted to gain control of the suspect's handgun, and as they struggled, the suspect turned the gun and pointed it toward the officers. Fearing for his and the other officer's safety, one officer fired gunshots at the suspect, striking him. The suspect was conveyed to a hospital where he was pronounced deceased. The suspect's gun, a Springfield Armory 45 caliber, was recovered on the scene. Preliminary investigation revealed the gun was reported stolen from Alabama in May 2013. The officers were not injured. As is department policy, the officer who discharged his weapon has been placed on administrative leave. Per Department protocol, the Force Investigative Unit (FIU) will handle the investigation. Established in September 2014, the FIU is the entity responsible for investigating all officer-involved shootings."

A source told News 11 the officer who shot Williams this time was a male with about 2 years on the force.

Witnesses alongside the gangway said they did not believe Williams had a gun.  They didn't see one.

About 50 people gathered near the shooting.  But by 11:00 p.m. the crowd dwindled.  There were no further incidents.

Mayor Francis Slay tweeted that there would be a thorough and independent investigation into the shooting.

Ledarius Williams