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Teen shot after police believe he tried to steal gun in St. Louis

During the transaction, the boy tried to grab the gun and run, and the man chased after him and shot him

ST. LOUIS — A 17-year-old boy was shot during what police believe was a gun sale that took a violent turn in St. Louis Sunday night.

Shortly after 9 p.m., officers with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department responded to a shooting on the 3000 block of North Florissant, near the border of the St. Louis Place and Old North St. Louis neighborhoods. They found the boy lying in the middle of the street with several gunshot wounds. 

He was barely conscious and breathing when rushed to a local hospital, where he remains in critical condition as of Monday morning. His vital signs were unstable, police added.

Police believe the boy had met up with a man nearby, possibly to buy a gun. During the transaction, the boy tried to grab the gun and run, and the man chased after him and shot him.

The suspect is not in custody, and an investigation is underway.

The shooting comes on the tail of a violent weekend in which at least 17 people were shot in the city of St. Louis. Overnight Friday, nine people were shot in less than seven hours. A 13-year-old girl was among three people shot on Miami Street, where a neighbor said she hit the floor for cover as more than a dozen shots rang out.

"It's frustrating, it's heartbreaking. We have to say that is a major problem and it's not acceptable," interim Public Safety Director Dan Isom told 5 On Your Side's Robert Townsend on Saturday. Isom has only been on the job for two weeks. "We're working hard to implement new strategies. The violence is something that we all want to stop."