AP NEWS

Man charged in shooting of cops saved by bulletproof vests

December 15, 2017

This photo provided by the St. Louis County Police Department shows Jason Cook, who faces assault and armed criminal action charges after authorities say he shot two Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo., police officers on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017. Both escaped serious injury when the bullets struck their bulletproof vests. Cook then barricaded himself inside a home until police stormed in. (St. Louis County Police Department via AP)

ST. LOUIS (AP) — A 37-year-old man was charged Friday in the shooting of two suburban St. Louis police officers who were saved by their bulletproof vests.

Jason Cook faces two counts each of first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Bail was set at $150,000 and Cook does not yet have an attorney.

After the shooting, Cook barricaded himself inside a house in Bellefontaine Neighbors, sparking a lengthy standoff with officers. When police stormed the home, he was found to also have suffered a gunshot wound.

The Bellefontaine Neighbors officers tried to arrest Cook Thursday following a report of gunshots the night before. Police say the suspect pulled out a gun and shot both officers — identified Friday as Sgt. Bryan Spieler, 44, and officer Katherine Weiss, 25. Both were struck in the chest.

The bullets struck their bulletproof vests. Both were treated at a hospital and released.

St. Louis County police said one of the officers returned fire but it wasn’t known if that officer shot the suspect.

Police said Cook then ran about a block and barricaded himself inside a house, leading to a standoff involving dozens of officers and a police tactical squad.

Police said that at 11:12 a.m., the suspect opened the door of the home and fired his gun. A tactical operations officer returned fire. No officers were struck in that exchange and police didn’t know at the time if the suspect was hit.

Tactical operations officers went into the home 3 ½ hours later and found the suspect with one gunshot wound to the upper body. Police aren’t sure if Cook was shot by one of the Bellefontaine Neighbors officers or in the exchange of gunfire during the standoff. He is expected to survive but messages on Friday seeking more details about his condition were not immediately returned.

Two handguns were found inside the home, police said.

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