A Ballwin Police officer was in critical condition after he was shot in the neck during a traffic stop late Friday morning, said police.
The male officer stopped the car for speeding on northbound New Ballwin Road at around 11 a.m., police said. As the officer went back to his car, the driver got out, “advanced quickly” and fired three shots at the officer, police said.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the following: “Make no mistake, we believe that Ballwin officer was ambushed.”
St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch agreed.
“It was clearly an ambush, an attack,” he said. “There was no confrontation, no argument, no nothing.”
The gunman fled north on New Ballwin road and was captured in Manchester several miles northeast of the shooting scene, after jumping out of the car and running, police said.
A semiautomatic handgun was recovered, according to St. Louis County Police, who are taking over the investigation.
The suspect, identified as Antonio Taylor, 31, of the 1200 block of Tower Grove Avenue, was charged with first degree assault of a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and unlawful possession of a weapon. Bail was set at $500,000.
Belmar, the St. Louis County chief, said his department has gone to 12-hour days throughout the weekend as result of heightened sense of alert after all that has happened nationally and locally.
“We need somebody out there to meet us halfway, because it is very difficult for police officers to do their jobs now,” Belmar said. “At some point we need to tone down the rhetoric.”
This is the criminal history of Antonio Taylor:
In 2006, Taylor was charged and convicted in Beck County, Okla., on charges of second-degree robbery and unauthorized use of a vehicle, online records from the Oklahoma Department of Corrections say. He was sentenced to five years in prison and was released in 2009.
That same year, St. Louis prosecutors charged Taylor with unlawful possession of a firearm for a July 7, 2009 incident.
He pleaded guilty, but his prison sentence was suspended and he was placed on probation by St. Louis Circuit Judge Michael Mullen, online court records show. Mullen also ordered him to have mental health and substance abuse evaluations.
Taylor then faced federal and state charges after being caught with a gun on June 14, 2010.
Assistant U.S. Attorney Tom Mehan, who prosecuted the case, said that on June 14, 2010, Taylor was caught with a gun in car that had been carjacked the day before.
When he pleaded guilty to the charge of being a felon in possession of a firearm, Taylor admitted running when stopped by police and discarding a handgun.
U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton sentenced him on Jan. 14, 2011, to 30 months in prison.
He received a two-year sentence in St. Louis Circuit Court for a gun charge and resisting arrest, to run concurrent with the federal sentence.
In June of 2013, Taylor wrote a letter to U.S. District Judge Jean Hamilton asking to be released from supervised release early. Taylor wrote that he wanted to pursue an acting career. He said he had been working, had been free of violations and had not failed any drug tests.
But later that month, his probation officer said that Taylor had repeatedly failed to show up for those drug tests, failed to report to the probation office, left eastern Missouri without permission and had been accused of assaulting his girlfriend when she refused sex.
She also said that Taylor had contact with the police in Los Angeles on June 20, 2013.
In that incident, Mehan said that Taylor was the passenger in a car that was stopped for not having license plates. Taylor was the passenger, and became extremely agitated after the stop, screaming and waving his hands around. After he was arrested, police found a loaded 9 mm pistol, Mehan said.
In April of 2014, Taylor admitted violating his supervised release and Hamilton sentenced him to 15 more months in prison.
He was released in March of 2015.