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St. Louis police officer killed trying to break up gunfight

(courtesy of the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department)
Officer Daryl Hall

A St. Louis Metropolitan Police officer was killed early this morning after being shot while trying to break up a gunfight that had erupted outside a club where he was a patron.

Daryl Hall, a five-year veteran of the force, was off-duty and at the Black Label nightclub at 758 S. 4th Street in downtown St. Louis when a scuffle erupted in the club. Those patrons involved were asked to leave, but the fight moved to the parking lot where the the suspect in Officer Hall's shooting, 30-year-old Asif Blake of Hazelwood, retrieved a gun from his car and began shooting.

Witnesses told police that Officer Hall went outside to investigate the sound of gunshots. When Blake refused to drop his weapon when ordered, Officer Hall, who was off-duty at the time, and an armed security officer at the club fired at Blake, who returned fire. Officer Hall was struck once in the neck and once in the bicep, and pronounced dead at 3:15 a.m. at St. Louis University Hospital.

Blake was struck by multiple bullets and pronounced dead at the scene. The unidentified security guard was questioned by police and released. He was not injured.

Police say the investigation continues. It will be up to Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce to decide whether to file any charges.

Officer Hall graduated from the police academy in July 2006. At the time of his death, he was serving in the department's Housing Authority Unit, and had previously served as a patrol officer in the 6th District. He was 34 years old.

Chris Little, the co-owner of the Label, released the following statement:

"Our deepest condolences go out to Officer Hall's family for this tragic occurrence that took place last night on our doorstep. Officer Hall was a regular here at the Label and his friendship with us was extremely special. This tragedy has deeply hurt us as well as shed light on the extreme issues that our community is facing every day with ignorance and crime. The Label is thankful for the work that our city officers do and takes pride in being the selected venue for the police officer's holiday party every year for some of the districts. God bless Officer Hall and thank you for standing up for us and our community."


Rachel is the justice correspondent at St. Louis Public Radio.

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