A march in support of a wounded St. Louis Metropolitan Police sergeant drew hundreds of participants Monday night, 24 hours after the officer was shot in the face without provocation.
St. Louis Alderman Donna Baringer helped lead the march, which began at St. Gabriel’s Catholic Church in south St. Louis and went to the intersection where the 46-year-old officer was ambushed.
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The unnamed officer was sitting at a stoplight in his patrol car Sunday night when a car pulled up next to him and a man inside fired at him, hitting him twice in the face. Amazingly, the officer was not critically injured and is now recovering at home.
St. Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson shook the hands of people who lined up outside the church. He told them their presence makes, “all the difference in the world.”
Dotson said the wounded officer is now recovering at home.
One woman who stood in line is the wife of a St. Louis Metropolitan Police Officer and a friend of the wounded officer.
“We read a lot of unkind things towards police officers and it’s hard to be a police officer’s family right now,” she said. “But it means a lot to see everybody come together.”
“I’ve talked to a lot of spouses of police officers who say that could have been my husband, that could have been my significant other,” said Dotson.
The rally ended with a moment of silence and the crowd singing “Let there be Peace on Earth.” Dotson said the show of support should go a long way to helping officers do their jobs.
Chief Dotson told reporters that this neighborhood happens to be where the unnamed officer lives and that St. Gabriel’s is “very close to him.”
“It was a big deal tonight that this assembly — hundreds, if not thousands of people — wanted to do it here in his neighborhood to show him their support,” he said. “The vast majority of the community supports their police officers,” Dotson added. “They might be a silent majority sometimes, but the vast, vast majority.”
Asked if he was sure that his officers had shot and killed the actual assailant, Dotson said they were pretty certain they had.
“When we tried to stop him, he shot at least three other police officers — including two that were in a vehicle. So there’s no question in my mind that the individual last night was armed. He was armed with a semi-automatic pistol which had a 30-round extended magazine in it, the serial number had been scrapped off of that gun, and when police officers approached him — he ran, turned and fired at them. So I believe we have the right individual.”
The suspect, George Bush III, was already a serial criminal at age 19 and was reportedly well known to St. Louis police.