Rest In Peace.
Slain St. Louis County officer had been on force 4 years, had Metro East ties.
Officer Blake Snyder leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son.
A St. Louis County police officer who was shot “almost immediately” after he got out of his car while answering a call before dawn Thursday has died, police said.
A second officer then shot the suspect, an 18-year-old man who was critically injured.
The shooting happened shortly after 5 a.m. in Green Park, said Benjamin Granda, a spokesman for the St. Louis County police. Green Park is a small city in south St. Louis County, northwest of the South County Center mall.
Shortly after the shooting, Granda said both the officer and suspect were “in bad shape.” Police later said the officer had died.
The officer was identified as Blake Snyder, 33. The suspect shot Snyder once in the chin at very close range, said County police Sgt. Shawn McGuire.
Snyder had been with the department at least four years and was assigned to the Affton Southwest precinct. He leaves behind a wife and 2-year-old son. The Backstoppers, Inc., a nonprofit that financially assists families of fallen first responders, announced it already is working with Snyder’s family and has given them an initial check of $5,000.
In a press conference, police Chief Jon Belmar called Snyder a “tremendous police officer” and said it had been a “tough day.”
St. Louis County Executive Steve Stenger offered condolences to the officer’s family.
“This demonstrates the extreme danger that first responders face every day” Stenger said in the statement. “Our police have my steadfast support and I pledge to do everything I can to provide them with all the resources they need to ensure their safety.
“I ask the residents of St. Louis County and the entire St. Louis Metropolitan area to keep all of our police officers in their thoughts and prayers.”
Snyder is the 10th St. Louis County officer to be killed in the line of duty since the department’s inception in 1955. The most recent occurred on Halloween night in 2000, when Sgt. Richard Weinhold, 44, was shot during a disturbance call.
Shot within minutes
Police said officers were called about 5:04 a.m. Thursday for a disturbance in the 10700 boock of Arno Drive, near Guehring Drive. A man was banging on the doors of a house.
McGuire said the man had a relationship with a girl who lived in the house and that someone there called for help when he demanded to be let in.
The officer’s last radio message was that he had arrived.
The suspect apparently was sitting in the driver’s seat of a car when Snyder pulled up, Belmar said. Snyder couldn’t see the man’s hands and apparently ordered him to show them. The man pulled a gun and fired. McGuire said Snyder was struck once.
“It was an immediately fatal wound,” Belmar said.
Authorities said that all happened within minutes of the original call, at an hour when it was still dark out. Belmar said he was not sure if there were streetlights in that area. Both officers and the shooting suspect are white.
He said police aren’t looking for any additional suspects.
The officers were not wearing body cameras, and the police cars do not have dash cameras, but Belmar said there was a witness to the shooting. The gunman’s weapon was found at the scene.
The man was the subject of a narcotics investigation that involved Snyder, Belmar said, adding that he was not drawing a connection. Police believe the gunman lived nearby.
The gunman was shot “a lot,” Belmar said. He wasn’t sure how many times. The suspect was in critical but stable condition at a hospital. Belmar said warrants against the man are imminent.
Belmar thanked Mehlville firefighters and staff at St. Anthony’s Hospital, who tried to save Snyder’s life.
Yelling and gunshots
Jack Buck III, the famous sports broadcaster’s grandson, lives around the corner and three houses up from the shooting scene. He said he was asleep at about 5:15 a.m. when he heard the shots.
“It was an exchange of pop-pop, pop-pop-pop,” he said. “Maybe 8 to 12 shots.”
At first he thought it might be fireworks. He looked outside and saw the lights of a police car.
Buck described Green Park as a small, middle-class community that was relatively free of crime until about a month ago. Last week, someone on a nearby street reported a burglary. And about four weeks ago, nearly every car on his street was broken into, he said.
Vicki Englund, a former state representative and a current member of the Lindbergh School Board, lives catty-corner to the shooting. She said the sounds woke her up. At first, it was a couple shots and she didn’t think much of it.
“You think it’s a car backfiring, what else could it be?”
She didn’t see what happened but heard a series of shots and someone — she presumes an officer — yelling at someone else to get back inside a house.
“I heard couple shots then a pause then I heard 10 or so in a row and someone yell ‘Get back in the house’ or ‘Are you gonna get back in the house?’ in a very strong, controlled voice,” she said. “And then a few more shots.”
Mike Miller, 33, lives in the neighborhood. He said the shooting was in front of a home that is a trouble spot. A woman lives there with a teen and other children and it is a suspected drug house, he said. A few weeks ago, two youths were caught smoking marijuana in a car in front of the home, he said.
“Ever since then, you’d see a police car patrolling this street every hour,” he said.
Another neighbor said he saw a car on Arno, near the shooting scene, with its windows shot out.
The shooting comes about three months after a Ballwin officer was shot and paralyzed during a traffic stop in July.
Officer Michael Flamion is recovering at a rehabilitation hospitalin Colorado after the shooting. He was shot in the back while returning to his car during a traffic stop on New Ballwin Road on July 8, police say. Antonio Taylor, 31, was charged in the shooting.