Police Shooting Reignites Debate Over Gun Control in America
Police reported the shooting occurred at 14th Street and Washington Avenue in St. Louis. Witnesses stated a vehicle stopped before multiple individuals got out, the suspect opened fire on two officers before they responded with gunfire that struck back at him, striking both officers. One officer suffered life-threatening injuries; both experienced non-life threatening wounds.
De’Arreis Smith, 18, from Green Park is currently held on a $250,000 cash-only bond and charged with first degree murder, attempted murder and armed criminal action. Smith had just graduated high school with 10 siblings he cared for as the oldest. He planned to enroll at college next year before his arrest was made public.
Smith was described by his mother as an outstanding student who loved his family and wanted to pursue a career in medicine. She lamented his death and can’t think of him being anything other than “good boy,” she told Sun Herald.
On Friday afternoon, two police officers were shot, prompting further discussions over gun control in America. This shooting happened in Skinker-Debaliviere neighborhood where authorities say they were called out for an elderly man who was acting erratically; his family requested a CIT (Crisis Intervention Team) since he wasn’t taking his medication as prescribed.
Once officers arrived at the home, a suspect allegedly pulled a gun out from under his jacket and began firing it at them, wounding one officer before police began grappling with and wrestling with him; during which, his hand suffered an injury during their struggle; they also threw a hammer at him during a shootout which missed, eventually detaining him according to Police Chief Robert Tracy.
This shooting occurs a week after a fatal officer-involved shooting in St. Louis that reignited debate about gun control issues across America. On Monday, an 18-year-old shooter killed both a 15-year-old student and 61-year-old teacher at Central Visual and Performing Arts high school.
At a press conference held Thursday, Hayden asked for prayers for his department during this difficult period. While he declined to provide details as to what led up to the confrontation, he did state that officers were present and in their rightful places at the right time.
The incident remains under investigation and no names of officers involved have been disclosed. Additionally, the city is reviewing a law passed this year that establishes an independent division to investigate use of force incidents – part of an overall effort by the city to make their police force more accountable after protests over Michael Brown’s shooting in Ferguson in 2014 created national debate about police treatment of minorities. Under this new legislation passed this year, an independent force review unit and civil rights unit will need to be created by the police force itself.