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Posted: 12/23/2005 2:40:32 PM EDT
St. Louis Officer Shot In Neck
JEREMY KOHLER
St. Louis Post-Dispatch



A St. Louis police officer escaped alive after being shot in the neck early Thursday by a man he tried to question regarding what may have been an abduction about a block away.

The rookie officer was expected to recover, and his attacker escaped, leaving detectives unsure whether the two incidents were linked.

It was the second time in less than 24 hours that city officers came under gunfire without provocation. Two officers escaped injury in the first, on Wednesday morning, and wounded the man they said fired on them.

Thursday's wounded officer, 31-year-old Matthew Greco, was in good condition later at Barnes-Jewish Hospital, police said. Greco graduated from the St. Louis Police Academy in September and was still in his probationary period.

"He's very lucky to be alive," Police Chief Joe Mokwa said.

The shooter remained at large Thursday.

Greco and his partner were driving about 1:50 a.m. Thursday on the 5800 block of Dr. Martin Luther King Drive, in the Hamilton Heights neighborhood, when they saw a man and a woman arguing, Mokwa said.

The officers were on the lookout for a suspect in a possible rape and abduction reported early Wednesday in the 5900 block of Wells Avenue, a block west and south of the shooting. They surmised the man they encountered could be worth talking to, Mokwa said.

But the stranger fled on foot, firing shots, Mokwa said. Greco told the chief his pursuit lasted exactly one step before a bullet pierced his neck.

The woman slipped away.

Prosecutors obtained charges Thursday in the unrelated attack on police about 10 a.m. Wednesday. Two officers answered a series of 911 hang-ups at a home in the 4900 block of Genevieve Avenue and were confronted by a man who fired shots at them and fled into the home after they wounded him. He was captured three hours later.

Tony Williams, 26, was charged with first-degree assault on a law enforcement officer, armed criminal action and endangering the welfare of a child.

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