4 people shot to death in St. Louis-area home; suspect held

ST. CHARLES, Mo.  — Four people were fatally shot inside a St.-Louis-area home, and the suspect exchanged gunfire with police as he fled just after midnight Saturday before being taken into custody just after dawn in a convenience store where he had sought shelter.

Three victims were found dead inside the home in St. Charles, Missouri, a city of about 70,000 people on the Missouri River east of St. Louis. A fourth victim was taken to a local hospital and died there, said St. Charles Police Lt. Tom Wilkison.

Police stopped the suspect as he tried to drive away from the home, and a short gun battle followed. The suspect then fled on foot, tried unsuccessfully to steal a woman’s car, stabbed her and fled again on foot. Her injuries were not life-threatening, authorities said.

The suspect was taken into custody at a convenience store a few miles away at about 7:30 a.m. Saturday. He also was injured, and Wilkison said he remained in a local hospital Saturday.

Police were called to the scene by a call from within the home a few minutes before midnight Friday, though they were not saying who made it.

“During that phone call, the 911 operator could hear gunshots in the background,” Wilkison told The Associated Press.

Authorities were not releasing the names of the victims, pending notification of their relatives.

They also did not name the suspect or provide details about the weapon he used or his potential motives. Authorities also did not know whether he was injured while exchanging shots with police or at another time.

Officers from multiple law enforcement agencies and helicopter and SWAT units converged in the neighborhood where the shootings occurred and cordoned it off but couldn’t find the suspect. He was reported at the convenience store about seven hours later.

“My sense is that he went in there, was seeking shelter. It was really cold last night,” said Capt. Scott Will of the Major Case Squad of Greater St. Louis, leading the investigation.

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