Police are investigating after two guns crimes in three days in downtown St. Louis.
Police said a 29-year old male driver was stopped at a red light at Olive and N. 11th Tuesday night, when he saw a group of three people standing very close to his car on the sidewalk. The driver motioned for the group to back away, and accelerated when the light turned green.
Police say one of the suspects fired a gun at the driver through the window. The bullet struck the victim on the forehead. Police say the driver crashed his vehicle into another car and a flower planter two blocks away, on 9th and Olive near the Culinaria grocery store. The victim was taken to a hospital in stable condition.
Police say the three suspects, all male, ran away.
From her apartment downtown, Kerry O’Connor heard the crash and ran to the window to learn more.
“An ambulance came, a fire truck came and they got the guy out of the car,” she said. O’Connor watched from above as bystanders and emergency personnel helped the victim.
Just hours earlier said she stopped into the grocery store near the shooting scene.
“If I wouldn’t have gone to the store when I got home, I would have gone right then,” she said. “And I’m like, OK, so, no time is safe, I guess?”
O’Connor has lived downtown about a year, and sometimes considers moving for safety reasons.
“My thing was, I go to that parking garage [near the shooting] every day. Walk across that street every day. Drive past that street and it’s like,... OK,” she said with a shrug.
On Sunday night, police responded to another incident.
Around 11 p.m., Kenneth Moss was downtown picking up his friend from a bar. While he was sitting in his car waiting, two people tapped on his window.
“A young man came up to the door knocked on the window, produced a gun, demanded I get out of the vehicle and all the money that was in my wallet and the keys,” he remembered.
Moss cooperated with the gunmen, who stole his car, his phone and his money and drove away. He flagged down another driver nearby who helped him call police. He said the man, a stranger, stayed with him until police arrived.
“Real kind gesture, really wish I’d gotten his name,” Moss said. “I don’t know if I ever really properly thanked him because I was in such a kind of shock.”
Police said the stolen vehicle was last seen heading west on Washington Avenue.
Moss said he was most afraid that his friends would arrive before the suspects left, and would be in danger, too. Nobody was physically hurt during the incident, but Moss said the crime affected him emotionally.
“To be a victim, to have felt helpless, you think over and over what you could have done differently, what you could have to prevent it for the next guy,” he said.
Moss wonders if the crimes are connected. They occurred only two blocks apart and, in both cases, involved multiple suspects. Police said they are still investigating any possible connections, but do not have any information to report currently.
Both crimes remain under investigation.