ARNOLD, Mo. _An Arnold, Missouri police officer is in the hospital Wednesday morning (Dec. 6) after he was shot in the head by a burglary suspect in his police SUV Tuesday afternoon (Dec. 5).
Officer Ryan O'Connor, 44, was rushed to St. Anthony's Medical Center with “life-threatening injuries.” O’Connor made it through surgery Tuesday, according to Jefferson County Sheriff's Captain Gary Higginbotham, and his condition is stable.
Police officers from across the region showed up at St. Anthony’s to show their support for the wounded officer who has been with the Arnold Police Department for about three years and previously worked as an officer in St. Louis County and Ferguson.
Backstoppers has stepped up to donate $5,000 to the O'Connor who is married and the father of four.
It started when police responded to a burglary report in an Arnold neighborhood, and began searching for the suspect, Chad Klahs, 29.
Klahs was arrested in front of an Arnold pawn shop a short time later. Witnesses said Klahs was handcuffed during the arrest, and police reported finding a handgun on Klahs that had been stolen in a home burglary.
It appears Klahs was also in possession of a gun he had stolen from a vehicle that police didn’t find. Klahs apparently used that gun to shoot O'Connor in the parking lot of the Arnold Police Department.
Authorities said it appears the suspect shot the officer and then turned the gun on himself. Klahs died at the hospital a few hours later.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department is leading the investigation and working to determine how Klahs got the gun in the patrol car.
Police said Klahs was 'well-known' to them. He had prior charges and convictions involving drugs, harassment, tampering with a witness and first degree burglary.
The Fraternal Order of Police's charity “Shield of Hope” is accepting donations for the O'Connor Family.
To learn more visit: http://www.mofop15.org/?zone=/unionactive/view_page.cfm&page=Shield20of20Hope