By Rebecca Wu
(KSDK) - A 14-year-old is in critical condition in the hospital after getting shot. Investigators are trying to determine if an off-duty St. Louis police officer fired the shot.
The off-duty officer heard a noise outside his apartment in the 1300 block of McKay in the Lafayette Square neighborhood around 3:30 Sunday morning. When he went outside he saw three people breaking into his vehicle which was parked on the street. Investigators said the officer identified himself, produced his service weapon and yelled stop.
The officer said he fired once after one of the suspects brandished a handgun.
Shortly after, security guards at a local hospital said two males in a blue van dropped off a wounded teen and left. The stolen van was later found abandoned in the 4300 block of Prarie in north St. Louis.
According to one neighbor who did not want to be identified, the officer had his vehicle broken into three other times in the past. The neighbor also saw stolen vehicles dumped on the block.
Julie Padberg-White is past president of the Lafayette Square Restoration Commitee. She said, "Car clouting, which is cars getting broken into, has been reduced significantly in our neighborhood."
She partly credited the neighborhood being proactive when car thefts were a problem five years ago. Padberg-White said, "We purchased 600 Clubs and offered them for sale for five dollars a piece."
Padberg-White is sad about what happened but said having a Club does not solve the root of the problem.
She said, "These are kids that are out too late. Where are the adult figures in their life and what are we doing as a society? (The problem of car thefts is) not just St. Louis city, this happens everywhere."
The two other suspects are still at large. Police said those two suspects proceeded to steal another vehicle which was also recovered.
The officer involved in the altercation has been placed on desk duty.