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Woman goes from car theft victim to suspected killer in St. Louis shooting

The woman tracked down her stolen SUV to a gas station and opened fire on the man inside. Two innocent bystanders were also shot and one died.

ST. LOUIS — A woman with no criminal history went from being a suspected car theft victim to a suspected killer after she took justice into her own hands Wednesday night, police said.

Now, two people are dead and a third is critically injured.

Police said Demesha Coleman, 35, tracked down her stolen Hyundai Tucson, to the Speedie gas station in the 8800 block of N. Broadway, and shot and killed the man inside. An innocent bystander was killed in the process and another man was critically injured.

It all happened at about 10:30 p.m. When officers arrived, they found Darious Jackson, 19, and Joseph Farrar, 49, unresponsive and suffering from gunshot wounds, and a third unidentified man with a gunshot wound to his head.

Farrar’s family told 5 On Your Side he went out to get medicine for his 11-year-old son, Joseph Farrar Jr., who had been diagnosed with the flu. The grocery store was closed, so he went to the gas station hoping to find some medicine there and to fill up his tank.

“My brother is dead because of somebody else’s mess,” said his sister Michelle Jackson.

Police arrested Coleman at the scene.

St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner’s Office charged Colman with two counts of first-degree murder, three counts of armed criminal action and one count of first-degree assault.

Judge Craig Higgins ordered she be held without bail.

She told police she went to the gas station to get her stolen Hyundai Tucson, and surveillance video showed Coleman approach the SUV with another unknown man. Both were armed with handguns, according to court documents.

Coleman can be seen opening the front passenger door with her gun raised while the unknown man with her opened the driver’s side door with his gun raised, according to court documents.

Coleman can be seen firing her gun and a shootout begins. The unknown man who was with Coleman appeared to be helping her during the shootout, according to the documents.

When officers arrived, they found Jackson lying next to the Tucson and Farrar lying next to one of the gas pumps. Both had been shot in the torso.

Police found another man with a gunshot wound to the head at the far end of the gas station parking lot and took him to the hospital.

Farrar’s sister said she isn’t mad at Coleman.

“I wish I wish that she would have contacted the authorities, but I understand,” Jackson said. “I will be more mad with the guys that stole her car to put her in this situation because we're all just one decision away from something like that, making the wrong choice. Because when things happen, we don't always think, it's just a reaction. And so I'm not mad with her.”

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.

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