POSTED: 10:26 a.m. HST, Jun 13, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 11:22 a.m. HST, Jun 13, 2013
ST. LOUIS » An argument inside a St. Louis business escalated into gun violence today when a man shot three other people before turning the gun on himself, police said.
The shooting occurred in the Cherokee Place Business Incubator, a building in south St. Louis that houses multiple businesses. The shooter, another man and two women were killed. The man and women were gunned down before the shooter turned his semi-automatic handgun on himself, Police Capt. Michael Sack said.
The victims' names have not been released. Sack said they appeared to be in their early-40s to mid-50s in age.
Sack said the three victims appeared to work in the same business, but he didn't have other details.
"We don't know if this was a thing that carried over into today or was initiated today," Sack said.
An employee of another business in the building heard gunshots and called police.
The building houses businesses that include an attorney's office, a home health care company and an African bazaar.
Meant to be a nurturer of startup businesses, the Cherokee Place Business Incubator dates back at least a decade in a once-thriving business section about five minutes south of downtown.
Big retailers later shifted to the suburbs. But that part of town, which as a strong Latino flair, has regained solid footing. New street lighting complimenting welcomed police responsiveness has helped make it safe, according to Jason Deem, a board member and former president of the Cherokee Street Business Association.
Deem called today's bloodshed "a very unfortunate situation for Cherokee" but not reflective of the area as a whole.
"It's not like this type of thing goes on down here. This is very much a shock to us," he said. "Everything police are telling us leads us to believe it was a targeted incident and not some random act of violence."
AP reporter Jim Suhr in St. Louis contributed to this story.