Wounded Missouri officer in stable condition after shooting

A suburban St. Louis police officer who was shot in the head by a handcuffed burglary suspect has survived surgery and is in stable condition, authorities say.

Arnold police officer Ryan O’Connor, 44, was rushed to St. Anthony’s Medical Center in St. Louis County on Tuesday after being shot by Chad Klahs, Jefferson County Sheriff’s Captain Gary Higginbotham told KTVI-TV. Klahs, 29, apparently fatally shot himself after wounding O’Connor, he said.

“Against all odds our officer has fought through the horrific incidents that occurred earlier today and remains in stable condition,” the Arnold Police Department said late Tuesday on Facebook, noting that the 20-year law enforcement veteran will face a challenging recovery.

The shooting happened outside of the police station in Arnold, a city of about 21,000 people about 15 miles (25 kilometers) south of St. Louis. Higgonbotham said Klahs was very well known to police for a criminal history that included the unlawful use of a weapon.

Police were initially called to a report of gun stolen from a home. Higginbotham said the suspect ran into the woods and officers heard shots fired, though it wasn’t clear if shots were fired at them.

Officers arrested Klahs near a gas station shortly thereafter and confiscated a gun from him, but he apparently had another that had been stolen from a car in the area, Higginbotham said.

Klahs was handcuffed and was being brought in for booking at the police station. Officers inside watched on camera as the black police SUV approached an area of the building where suspects are brought inside.

When O’Connor and Klahs never came inside, officers went out and found the SUV crashed into a diesel fuel tank and both men wounded inside. Klahs was in the back of the SUV. It wasn’t clear how he was able to shoot with the handcuffs on.

Arnold police Chief Robert Shockey said O’Connor has worked for the Arnold department for about three years and that he previously served in Ferguson and St. Louis County.

Klahs’ fiancee, Amanda Cochran, told KTVI that Klahs was impulsive but that the shooting was shocking.

“He would be mad at himself for what he did. He would beat himself up so bad. I know right now he is up there crying,” she said.

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