Maryland Heights, MO – A brave Missouri police officer on Tuesday stopped a gunman who had just shot his co-worker at a community center filled with children and adults.
The incident began on Feb. 28 after 30-year-old Michael Honkomp was told to leave work following an incident at the Maryland Heights Community Center, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Law enforcement sources said that 45-year-old Maria Lucas overheard Honkomp saying something inappropriate over the city public works radio and reported it.
Honkomp, a part-time janitor at the facility, was sent home, but then he returned at about 8 p.m. with a 9 mm semiautomatic handgun, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Maya Furr, a 20-year-old lifeguard at the community center’s pool, said she saw Honkomp talking to Lucas in the lobby and that was when he pulled out a gun and shot her in the head.
She said Honkomp did not flee the scene after he fatally shot Lucas and instead began pacing in the building’s front entry.
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported there were still about 150 people in the building, including children and a swimming pool full of people, when the shooting began.
Maryland Heights Police Officer Larry Jerrod had left the building only a few minutes earlier and was still in the parking lot of the community center when a woman ran out to him warning about the gunman, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Without waiting for backup, Officer Jerrod raced toward the front doors of the community center to try to stop the gunman.
As the officer approached the community center entrance, Honkomp immediately fired at him, shattering a set of glass doors, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Officer Jerrod returned fire and a brief gunfight ensued.
The two men fired more than a dozen rounds and Honkomp was hit several times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
Officer Jerrod was not struck in the gun battle.
Honkomp was transported to the hospital in serious condition, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
He was charged with first-degree murder, first-degree assault on a special victim, resisting arrest, and armed criminal action.
Honkomp will be held without bond when he is released from the hospital, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
Officer Jerrod graduated from the police academy just 14 months before the incident.
Maryland Heights Police Chief Bill Carson said that the officer ran after the gunman and didn’t retreat, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
“I think the officer reacted with incredible courage and bravery,” Chief Carson said. “During the gun battle the officer was there all by himself and he stayed with the suspect.”
Maryland Heights Mayor Mike Moeller said the officer “showed selfless bravery and put the public’s safety above his own,” the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.