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St. Louis Post-Dispatch
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
Katie Kull and Erin Heffernan

'Asking for the public to pray': 2 St. Louis police officers shot, 1 critically injured in Ferguson

ST. LOUIS — Two St. Louis police officers were shot while attempting to apprehend a suspect Wednesday afternoon in Ferguson and one was in "very critical" condition, St. Louis police Chief John Hayden said.

The officers were shot about 1 p.m. near West Florissant Avenue and Northwind Estates Drive. Hayden said the officers had been following a vehicle connected to a homicide and were approaching the vehicle when they were shot.

One officer was shot in the leg. The other was struck in the abdomen, Hayden told reporters outside Barnes-Jewish Hospital Wednesday evening where the officers were recieving treatment.

The officer struck in the abdomen was unstable and in "very critical condition," Hayden said.

Hayden said the officers had followed a car connected to a homicide to Ferguson. When they approached the vehicle, someone inside fired shots, Hayden said.

Hayden said he did not yet know if the officers returned fire.

Four occupants of the shooter's car were in custody Wednesday, Hayden said.

"I'm asking for the public to pray for our officers," said a visibly upset Hayden Wednesday afternoon. "This is a very rough time."

The shooting comes just two days after two other St. Louis police officers were hospitalized with critical injuries on Monday evening. In that case, the officers were struck by a vehicle on Interstate 64 while responding to a crash. Five others were also injured.

Hayden said one of the officers injured in that crash remains at Barnes-Jewish hospital.

The shooting also comes less than two weeks after St. Louis firefighter Benjamine Polson was killed in the line of duty.

"The officers are out here working hard, doing everything that they can to keep people safe and we keep having these critical incidents," Hayden said.

The critically injured officer has been with the department for about 3 1/2 years, Hayden said. The other injured officer has been with the department about 2 1/2 years. Both are in their mid-20s.

Dozens of police vehicles converged on both the hospital and the shooting scene, just north of the Urban League's Ferguson Community Empowerment Center, Wednesday afternoon. St. Louis Mayor Tishaura Jones also arrived at the hospital which was swarmed with officers in uniform and plainclothes outside its emergency department.


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