Officer Ryan O’Connor is out of the second surgery and had a good night Thursday, but remains in critical condition at the hospital. The veteran officer has been in law enforcement for 20 years and has a wife and three kids.
“His dad is a retired police chief from Maryland Heights…he and I go back a long way and been through a lot together. I’m going to be standing by his side here, not only for BackStoppers, but personally,” said Ron Battelle, executive director of BackStoppers and retired St. Louis County chief of police.
O’Connor, 44, suffered life-threatening injuries while transporting a burglary suspect to the Arnold Police Department Tuesday afternoon.
“They put their lives on the line every day. They go out there and keep us safe,” Battelle said.
Officials with BackStoppers immediately came to the aid of the family with an initial $5,000 gift and are hoping the community will pray for the family and show support.
“We have been doing this since 1959. We are going to be there if the need is there,” Battelle said.
Investigators say officers responded to a burglary at an Arnold residence near Jeffco Boulevard. After a search, police found the suspect, 29-year-old Chad Klahs, in front of an Arnold pawnshop.
Police recovered a gun from Klaus that had been reported stolen in a home burglary.
Klaus managed to shoot Officer O’Connor in the head while handcuffed in the back of the police cruiser. Klaus then turned the gun on himself.
Police said Klaus died of his injures.
“It’s a tragic thing what happened to him, but we are ready and willing and able to support him,” said Battelle.
Family and friends have been stopping by all day to pray for Officer O’Connor. His condition could change at any moment.
If you would like to assist the O’Connor family, you can donate to BackStoppers.