A black police officer has been accidentally shot by a white co-worker who “feared for his safety” in the while chasing a car.
The white officer was chasing gunmen vehicle he carjacked when the black officer ran to help with a gun help out his colleague.
The officer was injured in the arm and was sent to a hospital in St Louis, Missouri.
The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department said the shooting was a “friendly fire incident” but the injured officer’s lawyer said he had been “automatically feared”.
Acting police commissioner Lawrence O’Toole revealed that the officers were chasing a carjacked vehicle when three suspects inside started attacking the officers with their guns on Wednesday night.
They ran after the vehicle until it crashed, while the men tried to get out of it and ran away on foot.
“Fearing for their safety, the two officers fired shots at the suspects, striking suspect one in the ankle.” Mr O’Toole said.
“The victim/police officer was off-duty and inside his nearby residence when he heard the commotion and responded outside, armed with his department-issued weapon.”
“Two officers challenged the off-duty officer and ordered him to the ground, to which he complied.”
During the process, the two officers identified their 38-year-old colleague and asked him to stand up and run towards them.
But a third officer, a 36-year-old white officer allegedly did not comprehend the scene.
“At this time, a responding officer just arriving in the area observed this, and fearing for his safety – and apparently not recognizing the off-duty officer – discharged a shot, striking the off-duty officer in the arm.” Mr O’Toole said.
“He was conveyed to a hospital, listed as stable and has since been released.”
Two of the suspects, both 17-year-old black boys, were arrested and had their guns confiscated, while a third ran away.