ARNOLD, Mo. (KMOX) updated at 6:40 p.m.– Arnold Police Officer Ryan O’Conner is out of surgery after he was shot in the head by a suspect and is in stable condition, states Jefferson County Sheriff’s Capt. Gary Higginbotham. He was in a life-threatening conditions when taken to St. Anthony’s Medical Center, Tuesday afternoon.
O’Conner, 44, was shot in the head by a burglary suspect and is currently in surgery at St. Anthony’s Medical Center. The suspect who shot O’Conner was also shot in the head and was taken to St. Anthony’s, where he has died from his injuries, police say. The suspect has been identified as Chad Klahs, 29.
Klahs’ injures were from an apparent self-inflicted gunshot wound, reports KMOX’s Brett Blume.
Hospital officials will not comment on the severity of O’Conner’s injuries.
During a news conference, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Capt. Gary Higginbotham said that the suspect was very well-known to police.
Klahs’ criminal history includes being sentences to eight years in prison when he pleaded guilty to burglary charges in Jefferson County, in 2009.
Then in 2013 he pleaded guilty when charged with drug possession and accused of receiving stolen property, also in Jefferson County.
It is unclear when he was most recently released from custody.
Higginbotham also said the injuries are life threatening. They believe the suspect had his own weapon and shot the officer from behind, in the head or neck area.
The incident reportedly began around 12:30 p.m. as a burglary call in a residential area. Arnold police learned that a gun had been stolen from a home. When police arrived, the suspect ran from the scene into a wooded area. Officers reported hearing gunshots coming from the woods and called the Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office to assist. The suspect was caught a short time later at Zingers Mart, a convenience store at a Phillips 66 gas station on Jeffco Blvd. – just two miles from the Arnold police station.
Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey says the shooting took place during the ride from the gas station to the police station. O’Conner’s black police SUV can be seen at the Arnold Police Station, resting against a large diesel tank, just feet from the front door.
Both O’Conner and the suspect were shot. Higginbotham says that a gun was taken from the suspect at the time of the arrest, but apparently another gun was in the suspect’s possession.
Higginbotham says the police vehicle had a wire cage that separates the front and back seats. There was no other officer in the vehicle at the time of the shooting and authorities are not looking for any other suspects.
The suspect also sustained a gunshot wound, but police haven’t said whether it’s self inflicted. No word yet on the suspect’s condition. The suspect is also being treated at St. Anthony’s.
O’Connoer, has been identified as a 20-year veteran of law enforcement. He has been with the Arnold Police Department for three years and before that served in Ferguson and St. Louis County.
KMOX’s Kevin Killeen is at the hospital, and our Brett Blume is at the Arnold Police Station.