A 20-year-old Missouri woman, who suffered from bi-polar and other mental illnesses, is said to have committed suicide in the front seat of a St Louis police cruiser.
Relatives said Stephanie Hicks left her home early Wednesday morning and was walking to Christian Northeast Hospital, which is about nine miles from her home, when a patrol officer encountered her on the Clark Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River in Alton.
The officer called paramedics but it was determined that she was not suicidal and did not need medical attention so the medics left her with the officer.
According to Alton Police Chief David Hayes, the officer radioed his commander and asked if he could give Hicks, who was known to police, a ride to the hospital and the permission was granted.
While in the front seat of the police cruiser, Hayes said Hicks reached for the officer’s gun and shot herself.
She was rushed to Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St Louis, where she died from her injury.
Hicks’ family said they do not believe the officer’s version of what happened.
Although there is a dashboard camera in the officer’s vehicle, authorities said it was wired to the emergency lights and was not running at the time of the incident.
The officer, who has not been identified, is a 13 year veteran with the Alton police department.