Another St. Louis police officer involved in shooting incident

Tuesday, October 15, 2002

ST. LOUIS -- A St. Louis police officer and a suspect were both wounded in a shootout Monday, marking the sixth time in less than three months that city officers have been shot at or drawn into gun battles with suspects.

The latest shooting happened at around 12:30 a.m. Both officer Christine Fernandez, 30, a five-year veteran of the force, and the suspect, Kenneth J. Tate Jr., 25, of St. Louis, were hospitalized -- Fernandez in fair condition following surgery to repair a broken thigh, Tate in satisfactory condition with wounds to both legs and his left foot.

Tate was charged with assault on a law officer, armed criminal action, unlawful use of a weapon and possession of marijuana. He also faces charges out of nearby Ferguson because the 9mm gun police seized had been stolen there, police chief Joe Mokwa said.

The initial call seemed harmless enough. Fernandez went to the scene of a two-car accident on the city's north side.

She arrived to find a victim of the accident walking away from the scene. When she told him to stop, he pulled out a gun and began firing, witnesses and police said.

Jeannette Culpepper heard the commotion and witnessed the exchange from the window of her home. She said the shooter was unprovoked.

"It was shocking to see a gunfight going on between these two people," Culpepper said.

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