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Man shot during run-in with dirt bikers; shooter still walks free

The St. Louis circuit attorney's office declined to press charges because of self-defense claim

ST. LOUIS — A Jefferson County man said he's fearing for his life after St. Louis prosecutors dropped a case, in which he got shot during a run-in with dirt bikers and ATV riders. 

The shooting happened in early February in south city. 

"I'm scared. I'm disappointed," the man said. "I got to look over my shoulder all the time now." 

The man, who we'll call 'Tom' because of safety concerns, said he dropped off his daughter in south St. Louis last month, but as he was heading back home things quickly turned ugly. 

"As I was looking over here, he was flicking me off," he said. 

Tom said he was traveling south on Gravois in the Bevo neighborhood when several ATVs and dirt bikes suddenly surrounded him.

He honked at them, but moments later one of the people on an ATV kicked his car and refused to let him leave. 

"I cut over to the left and that's when they shot me and blew my window out and then shot me in the arm," he said. 

Fearing for his life, Tom said he went into survival mode. 

"He was in front me shooting and the only choice had I to do was trying to run him over," he said.

Tom was able to get away, but the shooter did too. 

"I feel the justice system let me down again," he said. 

Days after the incident, police took the shooter into custody, but they eventually let him go free. 

The St. Louis circuit attorney's office declined to press charges because of a dispute between the victim and the suspect.

Both men claimed self-defense.

Prosecutors said while there is video from the incident, but it doesn't prove who started the altercation. They said they can't prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn't in self-defense. 

"It's not right people get away with all of this," he said.  

Tom told 5 On Your Side he wants prosecutors to take another close look at his case and to wants to see the shooter brought to justice.

"I think they need to re-look at it," he said. "I'd like to see some justice done." 

5 On Your Side is working to get the surveillance video of the incident

The police department and the circuit attorney's office refused to release it Friday.

Here's the entire statement from the Circuit Attorney's Office:

Both parties claim the other started the altercation. Both parties claim they were each acting in self-defense. The ATV driver says he shot at the truck driver to protect himself. The truck driver says he was trying to get away and struck the ATV driver with his vehicle in the process.

Under Missouri’s very broad self-defense law neither has an obligation to retreat if they are in fear of their safety, which they both claimed. While there is a video, it doesn’t prove who started the initial altercation, and the state has the burden to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that it wasn’t self-defense.

Multiple experienced prosecutors reviewed the evidence, and there is insufficient evidence to prove this case beyond a reasonable doubt against either man. This is a very troubling situation with no legal remedies under current Missouri law.

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