ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – Over 3,000 felons remain at large in St. Louis as the city’s police struggle to find the manpower to make more arrests.
Last week, KMOX reported that St. Louis County Police are seeking to arrest 3,700 people on outstanding felony warrants. Those sought are people who have been charged with a felony but are still on the streets.
Now, in response to a public records request, St. Louis police have added up their tally of felons at large. It’s smaller than St. Louis County – 3,250 as of January 1 of this year – and slightly lower than the same time a year ago.
City police say the average number of people arrested on state warrants, including felony and misdemeanor, is about 17 per day.
The issue of outstanding warrants came to a head earlier this month after a student at the Stevens Institute of Business & Arts opened fire at the school, seriously wounding a financial officer.
Court records show the suspect, Sean Johnson, 34, of the 5300 block of Cote Brilliante, had a violent criminal past and was ordered to take mental health medication as part of a plea deal stemming from a violent 2009 attack on a cab driver in Bridgeton. The documents allege that Johnson attempted to slash the driver’s throat with a box cutter as the driver drove down Interstate 70. According to the driver’s statements to the court, Johnson reached from the back seat and pushed the box cutter toward his neck, forcing him to crash the car into a median.
Johnson was wanted on an outstanding warrant after his probation was revoked last year.
“Every police department wishes it had the staffing just to have a dedicated group of individuals and that’s all they do is go out and serve warrants,” St. Louis County Police Chief Tim Fitch said in an interview last week.