Police arrest suspect in pellet gun shooting of FOX 2 crew

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ST. LOUIS – There are calls to toughen state laws after suspects were caught on video shooting what appeared to be pellet guns at a FOX 2 reporter and photographer.

The incident happened around 12:15 p.m. Monday on Spring Avenue near Chippewa Street in south St. Louis.

A couple of suspects started shooting what appeared to be pellets from a passing car at FOX 2’s Andy Banker and Brian Ledford. Banker was struck in the head and torso but not seriously hurt. Brian was not hit

Police arrested the 17-year-old suspected driver on Tuesday. He’s being held in juvenile custody for assault.

Police continued to search for two suspects firing what appeared to be gel-blaster guns from the car. The guns are made for airsoft games.

Donna Cox was randomly shot with one about a year and a half ago.

Such incidents were trending on TikTok then, with suspects posting videos of their victims reacting after being shot with the gel-type pellets. Cox was left with a painful welt on her bicep.

She feared she’d been shot with a bullet.

“When I looked at my arm, I thought I got shot. They’re lucky they’re still alive, because someone who is not as patient as me might pull out a gun and shoot them back. It won’t be a pellet gun,” she said. “You’re going to get shot by a real gun. Stop doing this, please.”

There was no arrest in her case.

“We can’t even get the people shooting with real guns to be put in jail. There’s no way we’re going to get these kids put in jail. I don’t want them in jail. I want them to learn responsibility,” she said.

“It starts at home,” State Rep. Steve Butz said.

In 2022, Butz was shot by a pellet gun right outside his house in south St. Louis.

There may be room in Missouri’s juvenile code to hold parents and guardians more accountable, he said.

“Any time you point a gun at anybody, it’s violent, especially in this day and age. It’s not funny. I do think we have to look at that; putting some little bit of teeth for the parents to be responsible for the acts of their minor children,” Butz said.

Missouri lawmakers passed Senate Bill 502 earlier this year, mandating that juvenile courts “use a cumulative total of points assessed for all alleged offenses committed to determine whether or not the court shall order the child to be detained” rather than considering only a single or lesser offense.

FOX 2 reporter, photographer victims of pellet gun drive-by

Missouri’s Republican Governor Mike Parson vetoed what was an omnibus that continues a large package of crime measures he believed was too broad.

State Senator Nick Schroer of St. Charles County plans to bring back the juvenile court bill, along with a proposal for state control of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.

“It’s horrific to hear that the lack of police, recruitment, retention, is putting our lives in danger and making these criminals, from a very young age, hardened, to think that they can shoot, whether it’s Orbeez, pellet guns, or even real bullets, at people,” Schroer said.

“It’s one thing to be a child pointing a toy gun, 8, 9, 10, 11 years old. 15, 16, 17, that ain’t a kid,” Butz said.

“It’s not a real gun; I understand that, but you’re hurting people, and you’re scaring the crud out of people,” Cox said.

Schroer said resources in the juvenile detention system can change the course of a young offender’s life—resources they’re obviously not getting at home.


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