The St. Louis County S.W.A.T. team went to a recent call-out in Maplewood, MO. Firefighters responded to a vehicle fire and were ambushed by a suspect with a rifle. One firefighter was killed. As police officers arrived on the scene, they began receiving fire. Two Maplewood police officers were subsequently wounded. Two firefighters were pinned down behind their fire truck and the fatally wounded firefighter still lay in front of the suspect’s residence. He retreated into the home and barricaded himself.

The July morning was extremely hot and humid and the St. Louis County Tactical Operations Unit had recovered from assisting the St. Charles County Metro West S.W.A.T. team the day before. That was another barricaded-suspect situation. The tactical team immediately put together rescue plans to evacuate the firefighters that were pinned down behind the fire truck. Working in extreme heat, in full gear on back-to-back tactical situations, the condition and discipline of the special operations unit was put to the ultimate test.

After successfully rescuing the downed fireman, the team went back to rescue those that were pinned down. The team executed the rescues using the Lenco armored vehicle and managed to perform the rescue without taking fire. Witnessing this, the suspect discharged several more rounds, set his house on fire and committed suicide.

—TW Report

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