ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Officer Tamarris Bohannon, 29, died Sunday night, a little more than 24 hours after he was shot in the head while responding to a call for a shooting on the city’s south side.
He is survived by his wife and three children, two sons and a daughter. All of them are younger than 10, according to sources familiar with his family.
Bohannon served more than three years with the department, according to a tweet St. Louis police issued.
Police said Bohannon was shot in the head and another officer was shot in the leg Saturday when responding to a call about a shooting near Tower Grove Park.
Police said the two officers responded at 5:45 p.m. to the 3700 block of Hartford Street. Police said while Bohannon was looking for a shooting victim at a home there, a man shot Bohannon in the head. When other officers went to help Bohannon, the man shot a second officer in the leg, according to police.
Sources tell 5 On Your Side the suspected shooter went to a higher level in the house to get a better vantage point to shoot at the responding officers.
Bohannon underwent surgery Saturday night at St. Louis University Hospital, and was stabilized. But Chief John Hayden told reporters Sunday his officer was in “grave condition.”
At about 4:40 p.m., Hayden sent an email department-wide saying Bohannon’s condition had “quickly deteriorated,” and asked for prayers. He died shortly before 8 p.m., according to police sources.
Public officials have begun reacting to news of Bohannon’s passing.
Mayor Lyda Krewson called his death a “terrible, senseless tragedy,” in a statement.
It continued: “I am heartbroken over the line of duty death of Officer Tamarris L. Bohannon of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department. I've had the privilege of spending some time with his family under these extraordinarily challenging circumstances. They're wonderful people and immensely proud of the way he selflessly served and protected our community with distinction and honor for more than three years. This is a horrific reminder of the dangers our brave men and women willingly face every day to keep us safe. I ask that everyone please continue to keep Officer Bohannon, his loved ones, friends and colleagues, and the entire St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department in your thoughts and prayers. This is a terrible, senseless tragedy."
Missouri Governor Mike Parson said he was "deeply saddened" to hear of Bohannon's death.
St. Louis Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner said her condolences and prayers were with the officer’s family and loved ones.
Congressman Lacy Clay and his wife extended sympathies to the Bohannon's family.
U.S. Attorney Jeff Jensen said, "The men and women of the U.S. Attorney’s Office, and the entire St. Louis community, grieve the passing of Officer Tamarris Bohannon. We continue to pray for his loving family. We are grateful to the members of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department who put their lives on the line for us every day.”
The St. Louis Police Officers Association released the following statement:
"Members of the St. Louis Police Officers Association (SLPOA) began to quietly gather around 8 o'clock this evening as news broke that their comrade, Police Officer Tamarris L. Bohannon, had been pronounced dead at SLU Hospital following overnight surgery for a gunshot wound to the head.
"Bohannon was shot in the head by a gunman who fired multiple shots at officers responding to the scene of a 911 call for “a person shot”. A second responding officer was shot in the leg by the gunman, suffering non-life-threatening injuries. After an hours long standoff with police, where the shooter continued to fire on officers, the gunman was taken into custody.
"Officer Bohannon, or 'Bo' as he was affectionately known by some of his co-workers, was a four-year veteran of the city police department. Bo was described as a “difference-maker” by those who knew him well. He sought to make a difference for all people in the community he served because they mattered. The unnecessary sacrifice of this dedicated public servant should be mourned by all because his life mattered.
"Bo’s loss will be deeply felt by those who worked with him and those he served in this community. But his loss will be most keenly felt by his family and close friends. To his family and friends, the SLPOA offers our deepest condolences and support in this difficult time. We will never forget or fail to honor his dedication or the sacrifice of our brother in blue, Tamarris L. Bohannon. Godspeed, Bo."
Police believe the man suspected of shooting the officers shot or shot at a homeless man in the neighborhood, and then went into a house where he forced a couple out at gunpoint.
5 On Your Side’s Casey Nolen spoke to the couple, Steve and Mimi Haag. They said it must have been their "guardian angels" who got them out of the house.
“He could have very easily just shot the both of us and he didn’t, and I just thank God for protection,” Steve Haag said.
The couple said the gunman told them to get off their phones and they both were able to leave their house.
“Steve turned and went out the door and followed me out and we think our guardian angels put their hands on our shoulders, turned us and walked us out. And that gunman was standing there with that gun and shot the two police officers after that,” Mimi said.
The suspect then barricaded himself inside. He was arrested after a more than 12-hour standoff.
Thomas James Kinworthy, Jr. is being held in connection with the shooting of officer Bohannon.
Editor's note: 5 On Your Side does not usually identify suspects in crimes until they are charged. However, because the Ethical Society of Police publicly identified him Monday and Kinworthy faces charges of violence in another state, 5 On Your Side is naming him.
Sources have said the 43-year-old suspect was wanted out of Florida for kidnapping and attempted sexual battery. He also had a criminal history in the St. Louis area in the 1990s, the sources said.
He was convicted of drug-related charges in 1995 and 1996, and served about two years in prison for one of those offenses, according to the sources.
The BackStoppers, Inc. issued a statement Sunday. The organization helps families of fallen first responders who die in the line of duty.
“This is heartbreaking,” wrote Ron Battelle, executive director of The BackStoppers. “These two officers were responding to a call to assist someone in need and one tragically loses his life and the other is injured. We will forever be grateful for their heroic actions.”
Assistance from the organization is immediate and ongoing, according to the statement. Upon the death of a police officer, firefighter, publicly-funded paramedic or EMT, his or her family receives a check for $10,000. The organization then financially supports the surviving family members for the rest of their lives, covering everything from mortgages, tuition, healthcare, car payments and even end-of-life care for surviving spouses should they not remarry.
For more information, and to donate, click here.
Officers with the department noted this is the second tragedy to hit the 2017 academy class in which Bohannon graduated. Officer Katlyn Alix, 24, was killed while off-duty in 2019.