Man Charged With Gun Possession in Investigation into Police Shootings

Christopher Gaston.

FBI agents working with St. Louis cops on an investigation into the shooting of four city police officers have arrested a man on a federal gun charge.

Witnesses told investigators 40-year-old Christopher Gaston was carrying a gun on Monday evening, and surveillance footage showed him with a long gun, partially hidden in a blanket, according to the complaint filed today by the U.S. Attorney's Office.

The charges do not accuse Gaston of shooting the officers, but prosecutors note he lives in a condo complex "adjacent" to where the officers were shot early Tuesday morning while rioters clashed with city police downtown. Municipal court records from 2019 list an address for Gaston in a high-rise at the corner of 17th Street and Washington Avenue, about a block from where the four officers were standing at 16th Street and Olive Street when they were hit.

St. Louis police Chief John Hayden previously told reporters the officers never heard shots or saw a shooter. Two officers were hit in the legs, one in the arm and one in the foot. All four were treated and released from the hospital later Tuesday morning. Thousands of people had marched nonviolently during the day on Monday, but after the majority went home, a smaller group of people vandalized or burglarized dozens of businesses, set fires and clashed through the night with police.

When police and FBI agents searched Gaston's apartment, they found two guns — a twelve-gauge pump shotgun and a .380-caliber semiautomatic handgun that was loaded with five rounds, according to prosecutors. Along with the weapons, investigators seized an ammunition box with another 45 bullets for the handgun.

Gaston has a long criminal history, including weapons possession, from cases in Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas.

Prosecutors say he admitted to possessing the guns, even though he knew it was illegal. 

The St. Louis Regional Crime Commission is offering $100,000 reward for information in the officers' shooting, including $50,000 from an anonymous donor.

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