St. Clair County prosecutors have charged two 22-year-old men from east St. Louis with the shooting of a MetroLink passenger.
Investigators say it happened Monday night around 7:30 when the 33-year-old male victim was shot in the face during a robbery. They say a deputy on a routine patrol of the Metro parking lot spotted one of the suspects running with a bandana over his face.
The department says the suspect fled when the deputy tried to stop the suspect. After a chase he was arrested and the other suspect approached the scene and he, too, was taken into custody.
St. Clair County investigators say Deangelo L. Franklin and Shaquille R. Turner are charged with armed robbery and multiple gun charges.
Investigators say they also have two suspects in custody for an earlier shooting on the night before Thanksgiving around 8 p.m. which they say also happened at a MetroLink stop and also started as a robbery.
In that case, family members identify the victim as Eric Rasmussen and say he was shot in the back after complying with the hold-up at the Casino Queen MetroLink stop.
St. Clair County deputies will not definitively connect the two crimes, but say they have "several similarities" and more charges could come soon.
Rasmussen's sister says regardless of any possible connection the two crimes point to a lack of Metro security.
"The leadership of MetroLink doesn't seem to be concerned about the safety of their passengers," says Jan Johnson.
By email, Metro spokesperson Patti Beck says they are still determining what security staffing was during the incidents and adds:
"...passengers board the Metro system about 850,000 times each week. With an active traveling population that more than doubles the population of St. Louis City, the number of serious incidents is very small compared to the volume of Metro passengers we safely transport to their important destinations every day. However, any incident is one too many, and it is unfortunate that this time suspects targeted Metro riders."
Photos: 2016 STL area mug shots