ST. LOUIS (KMOX) – (UPDATED 2:47 p.m.) Southbound lanes of Interstate 55 remain shut down south of Festus following a police pursuit, reported shots fired at police, and a standoff that ended with the suspect dead.
Southbound I-55 remains closed; northbound I-55 opened around 12:45 p.m.
St. Louis County police released the following information on the incident:
Officers from the St. Louis County Police Department were dispatched to the area of southbound Interstate 270 and southbound Interstate 55 for a one-vehicle accident about 9 a.m. today.
A vehicle had run off the road, and people were attempting to help the driver, county police say in a news release.
The driver of the wrecked vehicle held a person at gunpoint with a shotgun and handgun, and demanded the man’s vehicle, according to police.
The suspect has been identified as Jerrod Kershaw, 31, of Pacific.
“The suspect possibly held that citizen, along with his family, at gunpoint while carjacking another citizen’s vehicle at gunpoint, and drove southbound on Interstate 55,” the news release says.
Officers located the carjacked vehicle on southbound I-55 and attempted to stop it. During a pursuit, Festus police, the Missouri State Highway Patrol, and the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department attempted to stop the vehicle by using “stop sticks.” The stop sticks eventually worked, and the vehicle was disabled near mile-marker 171, according to police.
“Officers contacted the suspect from a distance and exchanged gunfire with the suspect,” the release states. The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.
The Tactical Operations Unit and the Jefferson County SWAT team assisted with the situation.
Police say the “very active” investigation is still in its early stages, and the incident is under investigation by the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Department.
More than a dozen police vehicles were involved in the police pursuit/standoff, as seen on the Missouri Department of Transportation traffic cameras.
Northbound I-55 drivers are being diverted off onto Highway 61. Southbound I-55 drivers should exit at Highway 67 northbound to Highway 61, KMOX’s traffic reporter Rodger Brand reports.