A Missouri police officer was killed on Thursday in an apparent “ambush” at a hotel. A second officer was also injured in the incident.
According to the Daily Journal Online, Bonne Terre Patrolman Lane Burns and Cpl. Garrett Worley responded to a reported disturbance at a Motel 6 in Bonne Terre around 12:24 a.m., Missouri State Highway Patrol (MSHP) Spokesman Dallas Thompson said.
As the pair approached the room where the disturbance reportedly occurred, a suspect armed with a pistol came out and opened fire on the officers. Both Burns and Worley were hit by gunfire.
Despite sustaining injuries, the officers returned fire, killing the gunman, Thompson said. The gunman was identified as 21-year-old James J. Emery. Police said he acted alone in the ambush.
Burns, 31, was transported to Parkland Health Center-Bonne Terre where he was admitted in critical condition. He was pronounced dead at 1:46 a.m., Bonne Terre Police Chief Doug Calvert confirmed.
“Lane didn’t make it,” Calvert said. “They tried.”
Worley, 28, was transported via helicopter to a hospital in St. Louis to undergo surgery on his leg where he was struck with a bullet.
Jason Coplin, a coroner, said the deceased officer was wearing a bullet-proof vest, but the bullet narrowly missed it.
“This is something that every officer fears. They always have it in the back of their mind,” Thompson said, as reported by KMOV. “The ‘what-ifs’ and ‘if there’s something like this could ‘happen’. So whenever someone opens up a door and you’re not expecting them to pull a gun and start firing on yet that quickly. It is very dangerous. “
The MSHP Division of Drug and Crime Control is leading an investigation of the incident, Thompson said.
Burns’ fiance, Shannon Chasteen, wrote in a Facebook post that the officer “died protecting his community.”
“Bonne Terre Officer Lane Burns was shot in the line of duty on 3/17/22. He died protecting his community and his fellow officers,” she wrote. “I love you Lane, and I know that you’re still with me. I know you’re watching over your daughter, your family, your police officers, and I.”
Burns had been with the department for around five years after serving at other stations in the community.
“This is a small community, a smaller community, smaller police department, so it really hits hard for those folks here,” Thompson said. “It’s going to be a tough next few days next few weeks as they deal with the aftermath of this and their community for the rest of the officers.”