Firefighter dead, 2 police officers shot in Maplewood
A sharpshooter with the Missouri Highway Patrol waits on alert on the porch of a house on the 7400 block of Zephyr Place this morning as a gunman remains holed up in the area.
UPDATED, 10:14 a.m.
MAPLEWOOD -- A rookie firefighter was killed and two police officers were wounded when a gunman opened fire in Maplewood early today. The gunman might still be holed up in a burning home, and police sharpshooters have swarmed the neighborhood near South Big Bend Boulevard and Zephyr Place.
The dead firefighter has been identified as Ryan Hummert, 22. Hummert was fatally shot as he got out of a Maplewood fire truck as it arrived at the scene of a vehicle fire about 5:45 a.m. today.
Meanwhile, a Maplewood police officer is in critical condition at another area hospital. The bullet struck the officer's badge, which may have saved his life, a hospital spokeswoman said. A second Maplewood police officer was shot in the right shoulder. He is being treated, but his condition was unavailable.
It all started unfolding before 6 a.m. today, when firefighters were responding to a vehicle fire on Zephyr Place. The house fire started shortly after that. Officers surrounded the home, believing the gunman was inside.
Three hours later, dozens of police cars from a mix of area departments were still there. Many of the officers are crouching behind police cars with their weapons drawn. The St. Louis County police explosives unit rolled up after 9 a.m., as did an armored vehicle from the U.S. Marine Corps. FBI agents were suiting up in tactical gear.
Very weird this week. Last week had heard of the big accident on a nearby highway and discovered a friend had been killed instantly and now this.
This thing is still going on. The firefighters can't totally put out the house fire, as someone is in there shooting at them. The one firefighter was killed.
Then I heard the morning anchor on our local NBC affiliate interviewing a neighbor on the phone. The police had tried to get folks moved out of there, but with the "suspect" sniping, many had to stay in their homes and were warned to stay down and away from the windows.
The person being interviewed was the "officiant" who had married SR and me. She's a lovely woman who works full time at a local university. I hope she stays safe. They said that the fire department is training hoses on the immediate houses near the shooter, to try to prevent fires.
I don't think the shooter is facing a good outcome, with the Mo Highway Patrol swat team, the FBI, and the Marines armored tactical vehicles there. I'm just praying that no neighbors get hurt and no more police or firefighters injured.
Frankly, I don't give a damned about the "suspect".