Teen charged with murder in fatal shooting of St. Louis County police officer

Trenton Forster Source: KTVI via the St. Louis County Police Department

Trenton Forster (Source: KTVI via the St. Louis County Police Department)

An 18-year-old man has been charged with first-degree murder in the death of a St. Louis County police officer who was responding to a disturbance call on Thursday.

Trenton Forster shot Officer Blake Snyder, 33, once at close range as Snyder approached him, said Robert McCulloch, prosecuting attorney for St. Louis County.

Another officer responding to the same 911 call then shot Forster several times. Forster is in critical condition but expected to survive. His bail has been set at a $1-million cash bond and he is also charged with armed criminal actions, McCulloch said.

Investigators are trying to piece together what led to the shooting, McCulloch said. Police got a call that Forster was trying to gain entry to a house by banging on the doors where a teenage girl lived with whom he was friends, McCulloch said. He didn’t know if Forster had a past or present relationship with the girl.

“There is still a lot that has to be done,” McCulloch said. “There is a lot of searching going on, a lot of investigating going on.”

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said the shooting had all the characteristics of an ambush, CNN affiliate KTVI reported. Snyder was shot as soon as he ordered Forster to show him his hands, the chief told KTVI.

Forster was sitting in a car when Snyder arrived around 5 a.m. in the Green Park neighborhood. The officer walked up to the vehicle and Forster shot him one time with a 9 mm pistol, McCulloch said.

Snyder left behind a wife and a 2-year-old son.

There was no past relationship between Snyder and Forster, as far as police have been able to determine, McCulloch said. Forster was out on bond on a charge of selling marijuana but had no long history with the police, the prosecutor said.

St. Louis County was thrust into the national spotlight when a Ferguson police officer shot and killed unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown, which sparked months of protests, some with rioting, and fueled a nationwide movement questioning the necessity of many police shootings of suspects.

Snyder is the 10th St. Louis County officer killed in the line of duty since the department was formed in 1955, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. The last officer to be killed was Sgt. Richard Weinhold, 44, who was shot on October 31, 2000, the newspaper said.