November 21, 2016 / 4:01 AM / 3 years ago

St. Louis police officer shot in face, critically wounded in ambush

ST. LOUIS (Reuters) - A St. Louis police officer was shot twice in the face and critically wounded on Sunday in an ambush while sitting in his patrol car, city police said.

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the officer was shot when a silver-colored car pulled up next to his cruiser at an intersection and someone opened fire before speeding away. The wounded officer was conscious and able to speak after the attack, Dotson said.

The attack in Missouri occurred hours after a similar ambush in San Antonio, Texas, where a police detective was fatally shot as he sat in his patrol car writing a ticket for a traffic violation.

As was the case in Texas, the St. Louis officer was shot before he had time to react, Dotson said. The incident occurred in an area called St. Louis Hills, a normally quiet, well-manicured residential neighborhood in the Missouri city of some 315,000 residents on the western bank of the Mississippi River.

The precise circumstances of the shooting remained unclear, and police did not offer a possible motive for the attack.

The wounded officer was said to be a father of three, but his name was not immediately disclosed publicly.

Reporting by Greg Bailey in St. Louis; Writing by Steve Gorman; Editing by Paul Tait & Simon Cameron-Moore

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