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Wednesday, February 4, 2015
MAN DEAD IN ST. LOUIS SHOOTING HAD BEEN SHOT IN 2009 BY ANOTHER OFFICER
ST. LOUIS • A man fatally shot Tuesday afternoon by a police officer had been wounded six years ago after raising a gun at two officers and was sentenced to 14 years in prison, a police source said.
Police identified the man as Ledarius D. Williams, 23, of the 10000 block of Durness Drive in an unincorporated area of north St. Louis County.
Williams died at a hospital after being shot by a St. Louis police officer in the 4100 block of Minnesota Avenue in the Dutchtown neighborhood, authorities said.
The incident took place about 3:35 p.m., police said. No officers were injured.
Chief Sam Dotson said Williams, who was black, was shot by one of two officers who were on regular patrol in the neighborhood.
Dotson said when the officers saw Williams, “an individual they know from the neighborhood,” he grabbed at his waistband then took off running down a gangway. The two officers chased him and found him behind a building, hiding behind a bush, Dotson said.
The officers saw Williams had a gun and a struggle ensued, Dotson said. The gun started to turn toward an officer at one point. Williams was shot by one of the officers. The officer fired four times, but Dotson did not say how many times Williams was hit.
“If I wanted to describe a struggle for your life, one of the officers today is covered in mud, literally head to toe, where they were rolling on the ground in the mud while trying to gain control of (Williams’) gun,” Dotson said.
Police said one officer, 24, has been with the force two years while the other, 29, has been on the force seven years. Both officers were white men. Police did not say which one shot Williams but did say that, following standard policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave while the incident is investigated.
Police said the gun Williams had in his possession, a Springfield Armory .45-caliber, was recovered at the scene. The gun had been reported stolen in 2013 from Alabama.
In May 2009, a female officer shot Williams in the leg after he pointed a gun at her and another female officer, a police source said.
In that earlier incident, Williams was spotted by the officers at Texas Avenue and Cherokee Street in south St. Louis holding a gun. He was ordered to drop it but instead walked into the street and pointed it at the officers, the source said.
The officers opened fire and Williams was hit in the leg.
In August 2009, Williams pleaded guilty to two counts of assault on a law enforcement officer and was sentenced to seven years on each count, to be served consecutively, for total of 14 years in prison. He was released from prison last March.
Police reports also show that Williams had been shot by a stranger in March 2009 while riding a bike near Oregon and Miami streets, the source said.
A crowd that peaked at about 40 people gathered at the scene after the shooting. The crowd included neighbors, protesters, legal observers, and relatives of Williams, who declined to talk to a reporter.
Gary Gordon Jr., 26, who lives in the house next to the gangway where police shot Williams, said he was upstairs in the house when he heard three shots. “And I ran downstairs,” Gordon said. “I looked out the front and didn’t see anything, and then I looked out the back. I opened the door, and then I saw this young man lying on the concrete on his stomach, right there in our gangway.
“One officer was standing over him, breathing hard. Then the other officer walked up.”
Gordon said he tried to talk to the injured man but he replied with moans and couldn’t speak, Gordon said.
Gordon’s mother, Maria Gordon, 52, was at work at the time of the shooting but said her husband, Gary Gordon Sr., was at home at the time, cooking in the kitchen. “He heard the police say, ‘stop,’ and then he heard three shots,” she said.
She said people have been calling her because they saw her house on news reports and thought that police shot another of her sons, Cary, 21.
“It’s just sad,” Maria Gordon said. “Now my husband’s got to clean the blood off the sidewalk in my gangway.”
Christine Byers of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report