A drug suspect shot and killed a police officer outside a liquor store on Friday, and the officer’s partner killed the gunman, authorities said. The second officer was shot but was expected to survive.
The officers were frisking the man after he bought drugs, Police Chief Joe Mokwa said. “As they tried to pat him down, there was a violent struggle,” Mokwa said.
The suspect got one officer’s gun and shot him, then was shot by the second officer.
Both officers were wearing body armor underneath civilian clothes, though bullets fired at them missed the bullet-resistant vests, the police chief said.
Mokwa made wearing body armor mandatory in October 2002 for street officers after an officer was shot responding to a car wreck. The city’s last fatal shooting of a police officer was in 2000.
“It’s a tragic day for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department,” Mokwa said. “We had two officers that were doing their jobs, trying to do their best to protect this community and, unfortunately, one of them had to give their lives.”
The slain officer, Nicholas Sloan, 24, had been with the department since 2001 and was the son of a police sergeant, Mokwa said. He is survived by his wife and a 13-month-old child.
The wounded officer, Gabriel Keithley, 26, also has been with the department since 2001. He was shot in the hip, abdomen and shoulder and was hospitalized in serious condition.
Police identified the 31-year-old suspect as Dennis Hathorn of Centreville, Ill. Police said Hathorn staggered a few blocks and was found dead between two parked cars. Police said they found the handgun taken from one of the officers, along with crack cocaine.