St. Louis, MO – The St. Louis Police Department (SLPD) has released security camera footage that captured the moment a suspect in a stolen vehicle dragged a police officer with the SUV and crashed into a nearby gas pump.
The driver, later identified as 29-year-old Demario Bass, was fatally shot by the officer during the harrowing encounter, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The incident occurred on Dec. 12, after a license plate reader spotted a 2004 Hyundai Santa Fe that had been reported stolen two days prior, according to KMOV.
City officers were alerted that the vehicle had been seen near the intersection of Lillian and Goodfellow just before 1 p.m.
A moment later, Bass pulled into a nearby BP gas station, and parked at one of the pumps, surveillance footage showed.
A St. Louis police vehicle drove into the lot and parked in front of Bass, blocking his exit.
The officer in the passenger seat then jumped out and raced over to the driver’s side of the stolen SUV.
He yanked the door open, and became pinned between the door and the vehicle as Bass suddenly slammed the vehicle into reverse.
The video showed the suspect vehicle as it drove backwards in an arc, dragging the officer along, until it crashed into another gas pump nearby.
“We believe the officer discharged his weapon sometime between confronting the suspect at the driver-door of the suspect vehicle and when the vehicle was involved in the accident,” the SLPD said in a statement, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
The 31-year-old officer then toppled to the ground headfirst, as another officer rushed to grab Bass from the driver’s seat.
Bass was transported to a local hospital with a gunshot wound to the chest, and later succumbed to his injuries, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The officer he nearly killed suffered a “very significant” head injury and trauma to his mouth, and was transported to the hospital in fair condition, St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said at the time.
He has since been released from the hospital, and is recovering at his home, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
While searching the stolen SUV, investigators also recovered an undisclosed quantity of illegal drugs.
Bass’ mother, Dionne Willis, claimed that police overreacted and killed her son simply because he was driving a stolen vehicle.
"Even if the car wasn't right they did not have to do that to him," Willis told KSDK. “I want answers. Nobody has told me anything.”
Although the video showed the officer as he exited the cruiser and approached Bass, Willis claimed police cut out the portion of the video that showed what happened prior to the officer-involved shooting.
"They didn't show the part that I did see. That's not there," said Willis. “It didn’t solve anything. They didn’t show the whole video. They showed what they thought made them safe.”
Willis said she also isn’t convinced that her son had anything to do with stealing the SUV.
"Personally, I cannot say what he would or wouldn't have had,” she told KSDK. “He's not known for stealing a car.”
“I don’t know why they shot him,” Willis said. “Why did it get this far? What made it go so fast?”
As of Tuesday morning, a GoFundMe account titled “Justice for Demario Bass” had raised $150 in the week since it had been established.
“He was unarmed and defenseless,” the page read. “His family is still seeking answers for why this had to happen to him by the people who swore to protect the public.”
You can watch the security footage of the officers’ encounter with Bass in the video below: