1. Welcome to SportsJournalists.com, a friendly forum for discussing all things sports and journalism.

    Your voice is missing! You will need to register for a free account to get access to the following site features:
    • Reply to discussions and create your own threads.
    • Access to private conversations with other members.
    • Fewer ads.

    We hope to see you as a part of our community soon!

Gunman kills five, wounds reporter in St. Louis suburb

Discussion in 'Sports and News' started by Chi City 81, Feb 7, 2008.

  1. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Associated Press Writer
    KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A gunman opened fire at a city council meeting Thursday night, killing two police officers and three other people before law enforcers fatally shot him, authorities said.
    The two officers and the three people attending the meeting in suburban St. Louis were killed after the gunman rushed the council chambers and began firing as he yelled ``Shoot the mayor,'' according to St. Louis County Police spokesman Tracy Panus. It wasn't immediately clear whether the mayor was hit, but at least two people were.
    Kirkwood police fatally shot the gunman.
    The gunman killed one officer outside the city hall, then walked into the chambers and shot another, Panus said. He continued firing in the chambers, killing three attendees and wounding two others.
  2. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    Re: Gunman kills five in St. Louis suburb

    Here's the latest version. I'm sure the Post-Dispatch either currently has something, or will have something online. One of the Suburban Journal writers was wounded.

    ^BC-Missouri Shooting, 7th Ld-Writethru,0847
    ^Gunman kills 5 at public meeting in St. Louis suburb before police take him out
    ^Eds: UPDATES with details on reported gunman's history; ADDS background on Kirkwood; RESTORES police spokeswoman saying two were wounded.
    ^AP Photo MOSTP105, MOSTP103
    ^Associated Press Writer=
    KIRKWOOD, Mo. (AP) — A gunman with a history of acrimony against city leaders stormed a council meeting Thursday night, killing two police officers and three other people before law enforcers fatally shot him, authorities said. The man's gunfire injured the mayor, a newspaper reported.
    The victims at the meeting in suburban St. Louis were killed after the gunman rushed the council chambers and began firing as he yelled ``Shoot the mayor,'' according to St. Louis County Police spokeswoman Tracy Panus. Two people were wounded, she said.
    Janet McNichols, a reporter covering the meeting for the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, told the newspaper that the 7 p.m. meeting with about 30 people had just started when the shooter rushed in and opened fire with at least one weapon. He started yelling about shooting the mayor while walking around and firing, hitting police Officer Tom Ballman in the head, she said.
    Mayor Mike Swoboda was wounded, McNichols said. Public Works Director Kenneth Yost was shot in the head, and council members Michael H.T. Lynch and Connie Karr also were hit, she said.
    The gunman also fired at City Attorney John Hessel, who tried to fight off the attacker by throwing chairs, McNichols told the newspaper. The shooter then moved behind the desk where the council sits and fired more shots at council members, she said.
    Dozens of emergency vehicles were on the scene, and an area of several blocks was cordoned off along a busy north-south corridor around City Hall.
    Police have not named the gunman, but McNichols identified the gunman as Charles Lee ``Cookie'' Thornton, a man she knows from covering the council. Thornton had previously disrupted meetings, she told the Post-Dispatch.
    Thornton was well-known at City Hall, often making outrageous comments at public meetings, according to a 2006 article in the weekly Webster-Kirkwood Times.
    The newspaper quoted Swoboda as saying in June 2006 that Thornton's contentious remarks over the years created ``one of the most embarrassing situations that I have experienced in my many years of public service.''
    Swoboda's comments came during a council meeting attended by Thornton two weeks after the man was forcibly removed from the chambers. The mayor said at the time that the council considered banning Thornton from future meetings but decided against it.
    ``The city council has decided that they will not lower themselves to Mr. Thornton's level,'' Swoboda said at the meeting. ``We will act with integrity and continue to deal with him at these council proceedings. However, we will not allow Mr. Thornton, or any other person, to disrupt these proceedings.''
    Thornton said during the meeting that he had been issued more than 150 tickets.
    Kirkwood is about 20 miles southwest of downtown St. Louis. City Hall is in a quiet area filled with condominiums, eateries and shops, not far from a dance studio and train station.
    Mary Linehares, a teacher who lives about four blocks from City Hall and who walked down to the scene with her husband, described the town as quiet and eclectic.
    ``It's like a small town in St. Louis,'' Linehares told The Associated Press. ``You can call it Mayberry.''
    Despite its reputation locally for serenity, Kirkwood has grappled in recent years with crimes that have brought it unwanted attention.
    Just down the street from City Hall is the Imo's pizzeria once managed by Michael Devlin, the man who kidnapped Shawn Hornbeck when the boy was just 11 in 2002 and held him for four years before authorities rescued him from the home in January last year. Also rescued was Ben Ownby, another teenager Devlin abducted just days before Devlin's arrest.
    Those crimes got Devlin life terms on state charges, as well as 170 years behind bars on federal charges that he made pornography.
    City Hall also is about a block from a park now named for former Kirkwood police Sgt. William McEntee, who was a 43-year-old father of three when he was slain in 2005 by a man who witnesses said blamed police for the death of his 12-year-old half-brother two hours earlier.
    Associated Press writer Jim Suhr contributed to this report.
  3. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    Sadly, this affects one of our own. I just got an e-mail stating that one of the victims is the ex-wife of P-D baseball writer Rick Hummel. Her first name is Connie so she must be one of the council members in this story.


    My heart and prayers go out to Rick and his family. He's one of the best guys in our business.
  4. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    I'm confused. Was the reporter injured or not?
    Also, if the guy killed a cop when he first walked in, were there other police in the chambers or did they have to be called? Seems like the guy was in the room firing for awhile before he was killed.
    Just curious if there are any more details.
  5. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    There were two reporters. One from the P-D, who was uninjured, and one from the Suburban Journals, who was injured.
  6. old_tony

    old_tony Well-Known Member

    One of the accounts I read said the reporter was hit in the hand -- possibly off a riccochet -- and had a couple bones broken.

    And I think there are often cops as security at city council meetings.
  7. BYH

    BYH Active Member

    God, that's awful. What the fuck is wrong with people?

  8. Chi City 81

    Chi City 81 Guest

    That's what I read, as well.
  9. Angola!

    Angola! Guest

    Got ya. Thanks.
  10. sportschick

    sportschick Active Member

  11. slappy4428

    slappy4428 Active Member

    Unfucking believable
  12. Gold

    Gold Active Member

    I used to cover city council meetings. Some of them could get pretty heated, but this is pretty awful. Sometimes there are police officers, but there are usually only one or two and if somebody comes in shooting, it is going to be hard. Even if a police officer could draw their weapon, it would still be tough because you might hit somebody else.

    In southern California, there was a situation where somebody killed three of his family members and a police officer who was a member of the SWAT team before he was killed.

    Very sad news today.
Draft saved Draft deleted

Share This Page