UPDATE: Autopsy Indicates Woman Shot Herself in Alton Police Car
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ST. LOUIS (KMOX)-Initial autopsy results indicate the woman who died after being shot in an Alton Police car Wednesday morning committed suicide.
St. Louis County Police say it’s believed 20-year-old Stephanie Hicks was shot in the head, after struggling with the officer over control of his weapon.
Investigators say Hicks was walking across the Clark Bridge en route to Christian Hospital Northeast, nine miles away, when the officer picked her up. The officer was giving her a ride to the hospital when the incident occurred at 367 and Dunn Road.
Alton Police Chief David Hayes says that, as is common with such courtesy rides, Hicks was in the front passenger seat, “She was not a threat. She didn’t have handcuffs on because she was not in custody.” Hayes says she was not in the back seat, because there is no air conditioning behind the partition behind the front seat, “In the back seat of those police cars, whatever the temperature is outside it’s usually 15 to 20 degrees hotter inside.”
Hayes says near the end of the ride, Hicks, without warning grabbed the officer’s weapon, “She was able to unsnap it and grab it out of the holster with
Hayes says Hicks shot herself in the head. He says he’ll withhold judgement on whether the officer did everything by the book until the internal investigation is complete. The officer is on routine administrative leave.
The final autopsy report is pending. The investigation continues.
Our Earlier Story:
ST. LOUIS–(KMOX)–She was a woman walking alone on highway 367 spotted by an Alton police officer who stopped to give her a ride to Christian Northeast Hospital for “crisis intervention treatment,” but before they arrived she was shot and later died.
Alton Police Chief David Hayes says those are the facts, so far, in the case of the woman shot this morning inside the officer’s patrol car near 367 and Dunn Road.
“He was cleared to take her over there to Christian Northeast by the watch commander as courtesy transportation,” Hayes said, “and from there we really don’t know what happened.”
Because the shooting took place in St. Louis county, county police are investigating. County police spokesman Rick Eckhard had no details to release on what led up to the shooting or who fired the gun.
Chief Hayes was asked what questions need to be resolved at this point.
“Well, obviously, how the weapon ended up in her hands, if that is what the case is, and that is what the preliminary information is,” Hayes said, “and what the circumstances were, and what the conversation between the two was that led up to the shooting.”
Hayes says it’s not clear whether the woman was sitting in the front seat of the patrol car alongside the officer, or was seated in back.
“I’m not sure on that. She was not a prisoner, so I don’t know what the officer and his decision to transport her the way he did was about.”
The officer involved in the shooting has not been identified. He is described as a 13-year veteran of the Alton police force.
County police have identified the woman as Stephanie Hicks, 20, of the 700 block of Linden in Alton.
Hayes says it’s possible the officer may have stopped to give the woman a ride because of the heat.
St. Louis County Police are expected to release more details Thursday.