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Updated: Shots fired in attempted carjacking near Gateway campus
An attempted carjacking turned violent the evening of Nov. 22 on the 1100 block of Olive St., near the Gateway Campus of Webster University.
An initial report released through the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Dept. (SLMPD) the following morning stated SLMPD officers responded after the victim, a 29-year-old male, ran his SUV into another vehicle, then a flower planter, as he was escaping the incident.
Webster officials confirmed the university was notified by 8:30 p.m. after evening classes were already underway. The university stated classes were not disrupted by the incident.
According to the SLMPD release, the victim stated he was stopped at a red light at Olive and N. 11th when one of the suspects approached his vehicle window as two other suspects stood in close proximity on the sidewalk. The victim motioned for the suspects to back away.
As the light turned green and the victim began to drive forward, one of the suspects fired a shot into the victim’s vehicle window. The three male suspects then fled the scene on foot. The victim sustained a gunshot wound to the forehead and drove his vehicle east on Olive, until striking the rear of another vehicle, then a flower planter at 9th and Olive.
Initial coverage by KMOV-TV that night stated the victim drove his SUV into a tree. However, the vehicle struck the tree after rolling over the small planter.
The following day, Webster confirmed the decision was made to end classes a few minutes early so that students would feel safer walking to their cars while there were plenty of police vehicles in the area.
Adjunct instructor Louis Williams said a campus safety personnel member came to his history class and informed Williams of the incident at the door to the classroom.
“The recommendation was to stop class at that moment and to prepare to evacuate. Once I was informed of the situation, I told the class and we proceeded to leave,” Williams said.
According to Webster officials, the university has increased the number of public safety officers at the Gateway Campus and will maintain the greater presence until the end of the term.
An SLMPD crime comparison report for the downtown area issued on Nov. 4 listed 16 aggravated assaults for the downtown area in the month of October.
There was a 45.5 percent increase in aggravated assaults from the same time last year. Aggravated assaults are recorded as attacks involving a weapon or use of fists under the Uniform Crime Reporting standard used by the department.
A WebsterAlerts Twitter notification was not issued for the incident, but Williams is confident Webster is doing what it takes to keep the Gateway Campus safe.
“I think everyone felt assured that the college, and of course, Gateway were on top of it,” Williams said. “In fact, I thought they [campus safety] did the proper thing.”
Update: SLMPD arrested a suspect, 19-year-old Travion Brown, on Dec. 1. He is currently in custody and has been charged with first-degree assault, attempted robbery and two counts of armed criminal action.