St. Louis Public Radio News
9:16 am
Tue October 15, 2002

Mokwa Orders Officers to Wear Bulletproof Vests

St. Louis, MO – More than 1,100 St. Louis police officers must start wearing bulletproof vests by the end of this month.

Chief Joe Mokwa made the requirement yesterday, hours after an officer was shot. Using the protection had been voluntary. It's at least the sixth time in less than three months that St. Louis police have been shot at or drawn into gun battles.

Officer Christine Fernandez was in fair condition at a hospital after being shot in the thigh. The suspect, Kenneth Tate, Jr. was also shot. He is in satisfactory condition and faces a number of charges.

The incident happened after the 30-year old officer arrived at the scene of a traffic accident. Police and witnesses say she told a man walking away from the accident to stop when he pulled out a gun and started firing.

The officer went down but she was able to return fire. Tate was arrested a short time later at a nearby apartment complex.