Man justified to shoot robber, Hazelwood police say
ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH
HAZELWOOD — A man with a concealed-carry permit appeared to be justified when he shot and killed an armed robber on a street here, police said Wednesday.
Christopher Holland, 20, died grasping a .38-caliber revolver after the confrontation about 8:40 p.m. Tuesday, Police Chief Carl Wolf said. It happened in the 3700 block of Dunn Road, near Cortena Drive.
Investigators will present their findings to the St. Louis County prosecuting attorney’s office for review.
They also will perform ballistics tests to determine whether Holland was the robber who fired shots that missed during a struggle with another street holdup victim nearby the week before.
Wolf said the evidence supports the explanation of a 57-year-old man from the area that he fired Tuesday night after Holland took his wallet at gunpoint and was rifling through it. The robbery victim was not hurt. His name was not disclosed.
“Unluckily, I guess, the deceased picked on the wrong person,” the chief suggested. “When we found him, he was laying on the ground with the gun in his hands and his finger on the trigger.”
Holland lived in the 5700 block of Pamplin Avenue in St. Louis. He died of two gunshot wounds, one in the side and one in the back.
Wolf said there was a spent round in the dead man’s Tiger revolver. It will be checked against a slug recovered from a robbery attempt last week outside the Serenity Circle Apartments, he said. In that incident, a resident was exiting his vehicle when a gunman approached. They struggled, and the robber fired several shots and ran.
Tuesday night’s victim told police he was out for an evening walk and usually carries his .40-caliber Glock semiautomatic pistol because of previous problems with dogs.
He said Holland approached from behind, put a gun to his back and demanded money. As Holland looked in the wallet, its owner pulled his own weapon from its holster and told him to drop his gun and get on the ground. The man told police that Holland started to point his gun at him so he opened fire. Holland ran across the street and fell down a hill, where he died.
His body landed near the front door of Georgia Baker, 78, of the 1300 block of Eagles Way Court. She said she heard something but didn’t think much of it until she saw a man lying outside. “He was laying flat on his back by the time I saw him so I’m assuming he died instantly,” she said.
Baker said she heard three shots but some neighbors said they heard more. She said she did not know the victim or Holland.
Another neighbor, Richard Garger, 71, said, “A lot of the neighbors heard the shots and a few came out.” He added, “I came out about a half-hour later to put the dogs out. There was police all over the place and it was already roped off.”
He said it’s not unusual to hear shots in the area. “The night before, I heard a shotgun blast, which I knew was not a backfire but a shotgun blast,” he explained. Still, he said, "It’s a pretty secure and safe place to live. It’s just one of those things that happened.
“What are the odds that two guys with guns are walking down the street?” Garger asked. “It’s like the old West.”