FESTUS, Mo. - Behind closed doors of bathrooms in parks, stores, restaurants, gas stations, and malls, drug dealers are selling heroin.
"It's private. Nobody knows you are in there sometimes the best place to hide is in the wide open," said Festus Police Chief Tim Lewis.
That's what happened inside a Walmart in Festus on Tuesday. One man was shot in the hand and jaw when three people were buying and selling drugs in the bathroom. The chief says it was a drug deal gone bad.
"You can't be naive and think it happens in the bad part of town," said Lewis.
It's the dangerous trend in the drug trade Festus police are tracking.
"What would have happened if a father brings his little son in the bathroom and you've got two people fighting over a gun and all of a sudden you have a child that's injured," said Lewis.
He said it's not just Walmart, and it's not just Festus.
"If you have a public restroom it's already happened. the drug deal in itself is inherently dangerous, you've got drugs involved, you've got people who are tweaking off drugs, you have people armed because they don't want to get ripped off their drugs, you have people who are armed because they don't want to get ripped off their money," said Lewis.
He said people are overdosing and dying in public restrooms to.
"They are dead before the needle is out of their arm. We find a lot of needles, a lot drugs, we find capsules and it's an epidemic," he said.
He showed us needles citizens found in the park. Lewis put more officers on the case.
"We take one off, five take his place. We can't keep up," he said.
He knows it's impossible to stop the selling, buying and dying until people understand heroin can kill the very first time you try it. He said, the heroin buttons, dealers are selling, are more potent and pure than they've ever been. The first high, can be the last high.