GLASGOW VILLAGE, Mo. (KMOX)-Investigators say the Bel-Ridge teenager who was shot and killed by a St. Louis County Police officer in Glasgow Village last night, had pointed a sawed-off semi-automatic rifle at the officer.
Police Chief Tim Fitch tells KMOX the officer was looking for the source of gunshots he heard in the 10,600 block of Moidart Circle, when he saw three young men, including 15-year-old Lavon Peete, in a field, “He told the individual to put down the gun, that he was the police and he needed to put down the gun. Instead the individual pointed the gun at the officer and the officer fired on the individual”
Peete died on the scene. The other two men ran off and have not been found.
Fitch says Peete had live rounds in his pocket and investigators found spent shell casings from the rifle on the scene.
He says there are a lot of unanswered questions about Peete, “We don’t know why a 15-year-old would be in a residential area at 10 o’clock on a weeknight firing a rifle….He’s not from that neighborhood, he was from the Bel-Ridge area. We’re trying to find out why he was in this neighborhood at all.”
Fitch says because Peete was a juvenile, they have not been able to determine yet if he had a criminal history.
Prosecutors will determine if the shooting was justified, but Fitch says it appears the officer handled it properly, “If I was an officer at 10 o’clock at night, confronted with an individual with a rifle who points it at me, I don’t know what other choice at that point the officer had.”
Fitch says the officer is in 30’s. He was an Air Force Police officer who has been on the county force for about seven years and had not been involved in previous shootings. He says the officer is a ‘Master Field Training instructor’, “What that means is that he teaches officers how to train new officers. We have very few of those in this department and he is one of those.”
Fitch says the officer is on routine administrative leave and will meet with the department psychologist, “There’s nothing more traumatic to an officer than to have to use deadly force and in this particular case when the officer found out later that he was 15, that makes just as tragic to that officer as it does to the family”