Charges: St. Louis officer shot unarmed suspect in back


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ST. LOUIS (AP) — A St. Louis police officer faces assault charges after an internal investigation concluded that he shot an unarmed suspect in the back.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports that 26-year-old Matthew EerNisse also was charged Thursday with armed criminal action.

The shooting happened in August 2018 after an officer spotted a stolen Ford Mustang, prompting a chase. EerNisse joined in.

The pursuit ended when the Mustang driver lost control and ran. A probable cause statement says EerNisse gave chase and fired from behind as the suspect climbed a boarded-up gate. The man was struck several times but survived.

At the time of the shooting, Police Chief John Hayden said the driver had reached toward his waistband as he ran. But police found no weapon.

EerNisse does not have a listed attorney. A police spokeswoman says EerNisse is suspended but still with the department.

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Information from: St. Louis Post-Dispatch, http://www.stltoday.com

Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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