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‘Very heroic’: Officer stops gunman suspected of killing woman inside Maryland Heights Community Center

Chief Carson confirmed the investigation so far has revealed the gunman shot and killed a woman inside the community center before the officer entered the building

MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. — A woman was killed in a shooting at the Maryland Heights Community Center, police confirmed late Monday night.

Police responded to a call for shots fired at the center at about 8:12 p.m. An officer already was in the parking lot of the community center responding to an unrelated call when a woman alerted him that there was a man with a gun inside the facility, Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson said.

The officer — who was still on duty and in uniform — went into the community center to confront the gunman. At that time, the gunman started shooting at the officer, who returned fire and wounded the gunman, Chief Carson said.

The suspect is in custody, Carson confirmed, adding that the man was injured in the shooting with police and was being treated at a hospital.

Carson also confirmed their investigation so far has revealed the gunman shot and killed a woman inside the community center before the officer entered the building.

The identities of the woman and the gunman are not being released at this time, police said. They did not have information on a motive to release when speaking to the media Monday night. Chief Carson said his department will give another update at 10 a.m. Tuesday.

The officer was not injured in the shooting and no one else in the very busy community center was injured.

Click here or press play on the video below to watch the full news conference from Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson.

Chief Carson credited the quick and fearless actions of the police officer. He said the officer did not hesitate to run into the building alone and that he was confronted by the gunman almost as soon as he walked through the front doors.

"The actions of our police officer officer were actually very heroic. He was notified that there had been a shooting, there was a man with a gun inside the community center. He immediately went inside the community center and confronted the gunman, and shots were exchanged," Chief Carson said.

He added that the incident was caught on surveillance cameras. Detectives are reviewing the footage were expected to spend most of the night processing the crime scene.

5 On Your Side spoke with a woman while she still inside the center, sheltering in place. She described the incident as a shooting. She said the gym was busy with the usual evening crowd when she heard the first shot. At that point, she said people started pushing each other out of the way, trying to get to safety. The woman said she and about 20 others found safety in a bathroom closet.

The woman told 5 On Your Side that police confirmed with her that she has a video of the shooter on her phone. She said she showed the video to police and they confirmed to her the person in her video was the shooter. She said officers questioned them about what they saw and experienced.

5 On Your Side also spoke with a woman and her daughter who said their best friend were inside swimming at the time and as soon as they heard the gunshots they ran out of the back door. However, they ended up going back inside because they were only wearing in their swimsuits outside, where temperatures were in the 40s with a cold drizzle.

The City of Maryland Heights government Facebook page posted that the community center will remain closed until further notice. Officials shared this message online Monday night: 

"Due to the incident that occurred tonight at the Community Center, the facility will be closed until further notice. Details will be forthcoming. We thank you for your support and understanding."

Credit: KSDK

The Maryland Heights Community Center is located at 2300 McKelvey Road, which is near Dorsett and Interstate 270.

After about 90 minutes and going to each room in the large center, police started letting people leave the facility.

The 92,000 square-foot facility is home to the city’s parks and recreation department. It also houses an aquatic center, a gym with several courts, an indoor track and a large fitness area with cardio and weight equipment.

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