Woman, 20, Getting A Ride From A Police Officer Takes His Gun And Shoots Herself In The Head
A mentally ill Missouri woman shot herself in the head with a police officer’s gun while getting a ride to a local hospital in a squad car on Wednesday.
The St. Louis County Police Department said Stephanie Hicks, 20, got into a physical struggle with an Alton police officer when she reached for his weapon.
Hicks’ former boyfriend Eric Perry revealed that she had been dealing with bi-polar disorder and decided to seek professional help, according to the TV station KSDK.
Wednesday morning, she set out on an on foot journey in the sweltering heat from her home in Alton toward Christian Northeast Hospital–about nine-and-a-half miles away.
An officer encountered Hicks walking across the Clark Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River at Alton, and called for an EMS crew to examine her, St. Louis Today reported.
According to Alton Police Chief David Hayes, Hicks was not suicidal on the bridge, but simply trying to reach the hospital. She was medically cleared by the paramedics.
At around 9am, the officer pulled over and asked Hicks if she needed a ride. She entered the front seat because the back of the car is for prisoners, and Hicks was not in custody.
‘In the back seat of those police cars, whatever the temperature is outside it’s usually 15 to 20 degrees hotter inside,’ Hayes said.
While Alton police officers do not ordinarily offer citizens courtesy rides, the officer called his commanding officer and received permission to drive Hicks, who was apparently known to the department.
At Dunn Road and Highway 367, a woman unexpectedly grabbed the pistol carried in a holster on the policeman’s right hip.
Police said the officer told them Hicks unsnapped his holster and shot herself without a word.
She was taken to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, where she died from her fatal wound.
The patrol car was equipped with a video camera, Hayes said, but it is wired to the emergency lights and was not running. The officer turned on the lights after the shooting, and the camera captured the tragic aftermath.
The officer driving Hicks is a 13-year veteran on the Alton police force. He’s been placed on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
Hayes made sure to emphasize that the unnamed officer did not violate department procedures.
However, the victim’s relatives are angry at the police, questioning how a 5-foot-1-inch, eighty pound woman managed to wrestle a gun away from the officer.
‘She got that gun and there’s no way she should have got that gun,’ the victim’s mother, Robin Hicks, told Fox 2 Now. ‘And I’m angry, and I’m pissed, and this is not right!’