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Retired St. Louis Police Captain Killed Protecting Business From Looting

provided to stlpr on 6/2/20 after Dorn's death
Scott Bandle, Suburban Journals/St. Louis Post-Dispatch

David Dorn, a retired law enforcement official, was shot and killed early Tuesday morning after responding to a burglary alarm at Lee’s Pawn & Jewelry on Dr. Martin Luther King Drive in north St. Louis.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden confirmed the information during a press conference Tuesday. He said 55 businesses including the pawn shop reported property damage overnight following protests in downtown St. Louis over the death of George Floyd in Minneapolis.

“During a looting process, David Dorn was exercising law enforcement training that he learned here, so in his honor, we are wearing our mourning bands,” he said. 

Hayden added that he and many younger officers looked up to Dorn, who served 38 years with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department and retired in 2007 as a captain. Dorn later served as the police chief of Moline Acres in north St. Louis County.

St. Louis police officers received a call about a shooting at Lee’s around 2:30 a.m., according to a police report. Officers found Dorn, 77, on the sidewalk suffering from a gunshot wound to his torso. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

State Rep. Rasheen Aldridge, D-St. Louis, told St. Louis on the Air he witnessed the shooting on Facebook Live. 

“Things escalated at the Lee’s Pawn and Jewelry shop, where the man was killed, and to see his body, I mean, on Facebook, it was almost like — you know that’s how we’ve seen George Floyd’s body, and you know that’s not the change that we are pushing for,” he said.

Leroy Carter, Ward 4 committeeman, said Dorn frequented the business district along Martin Luther King Drive and previously served as a liaison between the business association and local police. He added that Dorn remained good friends with Lee Rascover, owner of the pawn shop.

Fourth Ward Committeewoman Dwin Evans drove along the street Tuesday afternoon assessing the damage done to businesses. She said she understands people are fed up with police brutality, and she stands by protesters. But she wants to see more protection and funding for businesses damaged by people who are resorting to violence.

“We’re trying to continue Sam Moore’s vision — restoring the 4th Ward. And then all of this happened — the COVID-19 and then the rioting,” she said.

Evans is running for the seat held by former Alderman Sam Moore, who died earlier this year.

She said her campaign is all about revitalizing the community through new development, and an important piece of getting that done is reducing crime.

Follow Corinne on Twitter: @corinnesusan

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Corinne is the economic development reporter at St. Louis Public Radio.

Send questions and comments about this story to feedback@stlpublicradio.org.