ARNOLD, Mo. — An eastern Missouri police officer was hospitalized with life-threatening injuries Tuesday after being shot inside a police SUV by a handcuffed burglary suspect he was taking to the police department for booking, authorities said.
The shooting happened at the police department in Arnold, a town of about 21,000 people in suburban St. Louis’ Jefferson County. Officer Ryan O’Conner, 44, a 20-year law enforcement veteran, was shot once in the head, Arnold Police Chief Robert Shockey said.
O’Conner was in surgery at St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County.
The male suspect also suffered a single shot to the head, but it wasn’t clear if the wound was self-inflicted, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Capt. Gary Higginbotham said. The man is hospitalized at the same hospital as the officer but a condition report was not immediately available.
The suspect was being brought in for booking as part of a burglary investigation, police said. Officers inside the police station watched on camera as the black police SUV approached an area of the building where suspects are brought inside.
When the officer and suspect never came inside, officers went out and found the SUV crashed and both men wounded inside the vehicle.
The suspect was in the back of the SUV. It wasn’t clear how he was able to shoot with the handcuffs on, or how he got a gun inside the vehicle.
Shockey said O’Conner has worked for the Arnold department for about three years after previous stints in Ferguson, Missouri, and St. Louis County.