Officials: 3 Killings In St. Louis Area Might Be Connected

O'FALLON, Mo. (AP) — Two recent killings in St. Louis and a third fatal shooting in St. Louis County appear to be related, law enforcement officials announced Tuesday.

The victims were a 16-year-old girl killed in St. Louis County, and a man and woman who were shot 2 miles (3.2 kilometers) apart in north St. Louis, St. Louis police Maj. Shawn Dace said. The killings happened between Sept. 13 and Sunday.

Dace would not elaborate on what evidence linked the killings. He said investigators have not identified a specific suspect or suspects and currently have no evidence the three victims were connected.

He also said the early investigation has not found evidence that any of the shootings are gang related.

The announcement came during a news conference attended by several law enforcement officials to discuss the recent spate of violence, particularly in downtown St. Louis.

“We know there's no magic solution to fixing the violence that is plaguing our city and our state's lax gun laws make it easy for weapons to fall into the wrong hands,” St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden Jr. said. “It will take partnerships from groups across both downtown and other neighborhoods to improve public safety throughout the city. ... Only by engaging people in the community can we address this violence.”

The violence included a shooting that killed one person and injured three others during a evening vigil Monday night for 27-year-old Demetrise Thomas, who was shot and killed nearby earlier in the day, police said.

Police believe someone in a dark SUV drove by the vigil and shot into the crowd, leaving two women and two men with gunshot wounds. One man died at the scene, and the other three were taken to hospital with injuries not believed to be life-threatening, police said.

Dace said at the news conference that investigators have not determined what prompted the shooting at the vigil.