ST. LOUIS — A former CBC football standout was killed and a woman was injured in a double shooting early Sunday morning in downtown St. Louis, the victim's mother confirmed.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department said a man and woman were shot near the 800 block of Cerre Street shortly before 3:20 a.m.
A police source said the woman told responding officers that a man tried to steal the couple's SUV. As the two men were fighting, another person fired shots at the pair.
Both victims were shot multiple times—the man in his upper body and the woman in her legs and feet.
Paramedics pronounced the man dead at the scene. The woman was taken to a St. Louis hospital. She was conscious and breathing, police said.
The male victim's mother identified him as Damion Baker. His mother said he loved his family and said she wanted him to be remembered for his smile and how he could light up a room.
Baker was a standout on the undefeated CBC football team that won a state championship in 2014. He went on to play four years at College of the Holy Cross in Worcester, Massachusetts.
One of Baker's former teammates, Nino Schmitt, described him as a "blessing to CBC and the world."
"Damion was kind of one of those guys that stood out to me, among those guys that I looked up to," he said.
Schmitt said back in high school Baker was not only a standout player on the football field, but a standup guy off the turf.
"He inspired me for sure and I think he inspired a lot of other guys, that you don't have to be either a great football player or a great academic, you can be both," he said.
CBC football coach Scott Pingel provided the following statement:
“Our hearts are broken by the news of Damion’s tragic passing. He meant so much to so many throughout the St. Louis community and we are praying for his family and friends.”
The shooting scene is just south of Busch Stadium near a number of popular bars. Several hours after the shooting, crime scene tape was still visible on the southwest corner of the intersection.
More than 20 people have been shot in downtown St. Louis in 2022. Six of those shootings were fatal, according to 5 On Your Side data.
Since Friday morning, at least 16 people have been shot in St. Louis; four people died from their injuries.
Resources for crime victims:
If you have been a victim of a crime or know someone who has been, 5 On Your Side has compiled a list of resources.
Better Family Life is a nonprofit community development organization working to "stabilize inner-city neighborhoods." One aspect of its mission is a gun violence de-escalation program.
Life Outside of Violence "helps those harmed by stabbing, gunshot or assault receive the treatment, support and resources they need to find alternatives to end the cycle of violence."
The Urban League of Metropolitan St. Louis has an anti-crime program called “Safety Net for Youth Initiative,” which is a joint partnership with St. Louis Public Schools to provide services to at-risk youth.
Cure Violence is an international organization that has recently launched in a handful of St. Louis neighborhoods. Violence interrupters are trained to deescalate violent situations within their own communities.