ST. LOUIS - What began as an early morning traffic stop ended with St. Louis Police shooting and killing a man just north of downtown.
“It`s a dangerous job every day and the officers are trained to deal with the dangers that they`re faced with,” said St. Louis Police Chief Jon Hayden speaking about the deadly officer-involved shooting just after 5 a.m. on Sunday morning in old North St. Louis.
Hayden says two officers in a police cruiser tried to pull over a Nissan Altima for a traffic stop at North Florissant and St. Louis Avenue.
But instead of stopping, Hayden says the man driving the Altima sped off.
We`re told the officers did not chase the car but did try to follow the path that the Altima took.
The officers found the Altima a short time later not far away after the car crashed through poles at the Bristol Place Townhomes near 13th and Madison.
Police tell us the driver then ran.
Authorities say one officer got out of the unit to look for the man while the other officer circled the block and found the suspect nearby on the 1200 block of Clinton.
That is where the confrontation turned deadly.
“The person had his hand in his pocket. He refused to take his hand out. The officer attempted to tase the person unsuccessfully at which time the suspect pulled his weapon from his pocket and pointed at the officer. And the officer fired several times into the suspect`s torso. The suspect has since been pronounced deceased at a local hospital,” said Chief Hayden.
Zach Mullens is the pastor at the nearby Rebirth Church.
He calls the entire incident sad.
“When we think about how much violence around the subject of guns are happening in our community it just has to stop,” said Pastor Mullens.
Chief Hayden says officers recovered a loaded nine-millimeter handgun at the shooting scene and found two kinds of suspected drugs in the Altima.
Pastor Mullens is turning to a higher power to try and bring peace to our area.
Mullens told us, “My prayer is that we figure out how to coexist with one another where stories like this become shocking to us because they`re not as recent or not as numerous.”
Police say the suspect did not fire his weapon.
The suspect`s name has not been released but Hayden says he was in his 20`s.
The officer who shot the man is 39-years-old and has been on the force for 13 years.
The partner officer is 28-years-old and has been on the force for 3 years.