Nine Dead After St. Louis' Violent Holiday Weekend

Victims include a woman allegedly killed by her brother and a former star high school athlete

File photo of spent shell casing on St. Louis street. - DOYLE MURPHY
DOYLE MURPHY
File photo of spent shell casing on St. Louis street.

A spate of violence in the city and county left at least nine dead following the long holiday weekend. Most fatalities stemmed from gun violence.

"After a month of relatively quiet weekends … this was difficult for our city both downtown and across St. Louis," said Dan Isom, director of public safety for St. Louis city.

The first homicide of the weekend occurred around 1 a.m. Friday. Police responding to a separate call were passing by the water tower in Compton Heights when they noticed a man lying unresponsive next to a vehicle on the 3500 block of Russell. He'd suffered a wound to the back of his head and was pronounced dead at the scene. The death was ruled a homicide.

On Saturday, shortly after 2 p.m., police in Vandeventer responded to a reported shooting to find a black Infiniti sedan that had been in an accident on the curb of N. Sarah Street. A man and woman inside were dead of gunshot wounds.

Around 9 p.m. Saturday, police in Ballwin arrived at a home on Alpine Ridge Drive to find 63-year-old Katherine Sokolich unresponsive with severe injuries to her face. She was taken to the hospital, where doctors found her to have a “severe brain bleed.” She succumbed to her injuries, and her brother, 70-year-old Anthony Sokolich, who was with her at the house on Alpine Ridge, was charged with murder.

About six hours later, a shooting near Busch Stadium in the early hours of Sunday morning took the life of 25-year-old Damion Baker. In 2014, Baker was a wide receiver and cornerback for Christian Brothers College High School football team, which went undefeated that year. An unidentified 21-year-old woman he was with also suffered gunshot wounds. She was taken to the hospital and is in stable condition.

Around 8 p.m. Sunday, officers in Dutchtown took an unidentified 35-year-old woman into custody for shooting and killing 36-year-old Kelsey Williams. Police had been called to a home on the 4600 block of Tennessee Avenue by the 35-year-old woman. She waved officers down when they arrived. After searching the address she'd made the 911 call from, they found the deceased Williams.

Then, on the Fourth of July, at least three homicides occurred in the metro area.

The first happened about 15 minutes after midnight in Northwoods. Police responded to a car accident on Fairchild Avenue where a vehicle had struck a sign. Officers discovered the driver had suffered gunshot wounds. He was taken to the hospital but later succumbed to his injuries.

Then, around 3 p.m. in the north city neighborhood of Kingshighway East, a shooting occurred at a Mobil gas station on St. Louis Avenue. Police responded to find an 18-year-old suffering gunshot wounds. EMS transported him to the hospital, but he later succumbed to his injuries.

About an hour later, in Kingshighway West, two adults and one teenager drove to a fire station after the car they were in had been shot at. One of the passengers, the 17-year-old, had been seriously wounded. EMS transported him to the hospital where he succumbed to his injuries.

In addition to the nine fatalities, the holiday weekend saw numerous people injured from nonfatal gun violence as well.

This morning downtown, near the intersection of 9th and Pine streets, a man was shot multiple times in the chest following a dispute with individuals shooting off fireworks. He was taken to the hospital and is expected to recover.

Isom said on Tuesday morning that initial reports indicate 18 people were injured due to shootings from Friday to Monday in the city alone.

Isom added that most of the shootings that occur in the city stem from "interpersonal disputes that escalate."

He encouraged anyone who gets in a dispute to not pick up a gun but added, "If you do pick up a gun, detectives will be on your tail."

About The Author

Ryan Krull

Ryan Krull is a staff writer for the Riverfront Times. Find him on Twitter @ryanwkrull
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