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Prosecutors drop attempted murder charges against 2 brothers accused of shooting St. Louis woman, fire captain in 2017

After an exhaustive investigation by the Circuit Attorney’s Office, prosecutors no longer believe the brothers are the same people seen in the video committing the crime.

ST. LOUIS – Prosecutors have dropped attempted murder charges against two brothers who were accused of shooting a woman and a St. Louis Fire Department captain while they sat in a car near St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood in February 2017.

Rain Stippec and the then - 30-year-old fire captain – who has never been publicly identified – were parked in the 2500 block of S. Seventh Street when they were ambushed.

Stippec spent 94 days in the hospital after the shooting. The professional dancer lost feeling in her left leg and underwent 14 major surgeries that included the removal of her spleen, a kidney and some of her intestines.

Both were hit by gunfire multiple times.

Prosecutors issued charges against the Hartman brothers based on video surveillance that showed them near the scene of the shooting and a witness who identified their car as that of the shooter. 

Prosecutors also said they had phone records of the brothers that showed them texting about the shooting not long after it happened.

After an “exhaustive investigation” by the Circuit Attorney’s Office, prosecutors no longer believe the brothers are the same people seen in the video committing the crime. They said when investigators with the prosecutor’s office synchronized surveillance video from different cameras in the area by time of day they found evidence that the brothers could not have committed the crimes.

Statement from Stippec family

“We are extremely saddened by the circumstances and our thoughts are with the Hartman family. We are continuing to cooperate with the ongoing investigation and urge anyone with information to please contact the police department.”

Prosecutors said the video shows the brothers driving past the scene of the shooting while the suspected shooter is also seen parked, out of his car and approaching the victim’s car. 

“The role of the prosecutor is to pursue justice, no matter what it takes or how long it takes,” said Kimberly M. Gardner. “I’m very proud of my staff. Their work in this case is an example of the great lengths we go to ensure we are holding the right people accountable.  In this case, despite the volume of circumstantial evidence, the evidence has revealed that Hartmans are not responsible for this shooting.

“We know, however, that people in the community have information that would help us identify the people who committed this crime. We are asking for the public’s assistance so we can bring justice to these victims.” Anyone with information is encouraged to contact police or the Circuit Attorney’s Office at 314-622-4941.

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