ST JOHN, Mo. — A Kinloch firefighter was among the three women shot inside a St. Louis County Applebee’s Monday night.
Arlydia Bufford was eating at the location on St. Charles Rock Road in St. John when she and two other women were shot. Bufford remains in critical condition, but her vitals are stable, the Kinloch Fire Protection District confirmed Tuesday afternoon.
Police said the shooter was eating inside the restaurant when he got up, walked outside and came back in with a gun and shot two women who were sitting in a booth.
One of the women died at the scene. The other woman was shot in the leg and is expected to survive. The man then walked over to another table where Bufford was sitting and shot her, St. John police said.
The suspect is in custody.
Kinloch fire officials said Bufford is 20 years old and lives in Spanish Lake. She joined the department in late 2019, completed the cadet program and was sworn in as a Kinloch firefighter in January.
“Firefighter Bufford was also attending the in house EMT program that would allow her to better serve the community as a licensed EMT,” the Kinloch Fire Protection District wrote in a news release.
Kinloch Fire Chief Kevin Stewart said Bufford was having dinner with her co-worker, a fire captain, after finishing up some training when the shooting occurred. Stewart said the fire captain was not injured in the shooting and was able to help the other victims until other first responders could arrive on the scene.
"It's been a bad dream," Stewart said, "a nightmare that we wish we could wake up from. But the reality is the senseless crime did occur, and it was senseless indeed."
Police said they have not been able to find a connection between the suspect, 28-year-old Courtney Washington, and victims and they still do not know why he shot the women.
The department confirmed Tuesday morning that Washington had been found at an apartment in St. Ann and taken into custody. They have not released any information on a possible motive for the shooting.
At the request of the family, the fire department has set up a GoFundMe page to raise money for Bufford and her family to help her during her recovery.
Washington was charged with murder, assault and armed criminal action. He is being held on $1 million bond.
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