Officer Charged For Shooting Suspect With Gun When She Meant To Use Taser

St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell has charged now-former Ladue Police Officer Julia Crews with assault.

Ladue, MO – A veteran Ladue police officer has resigned from the force, after she was criminally charged for shooting a shoplifting suspect she intended to tase.

Former Ladue Police Officer Julia Crews, 37, submitted her resignation just days after she was charged with felony second-degree assault, KSDK reported.

The incident occurred at the Ladue Shopping Center on April 23, after two women allegedly left a store without paying for merchandise.

Officer Crews intercepted one of the female suspects in the parking lot, where a struggle ensued.

The suspect, later identified as Ashley Hall, tried to flee from the veteran officer, who then warned her that she was going to deploy her Taser.

But instead of drawing her Taser, Officer Crews pulled her duty weapon, and shot Hall in the torso.

Hall was rushed to a local hospital, where she was placed on a ventilator, her family told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

The 33-year-old suspect is a mother of five children, who range in age from two to 17.

Her 17-year-old daughter is currently pregnant with Hall’s first grandchild, her family said.

“I’m a Christian, and I’m praying for the officer and for my daughter right now,” Hall’s mother, Karen Carter, told the paper.

The veteran officer’s attorney, Travis Noble, said that she is devastated by her mistake, and that she had never drawn her Taser during her 13-year career with the department.

The entire situation was a “tragic accident,” Noble said.

"She's obviously very devastated on what happened an absolutely tragic accident,” he told KDSK. “This was a circumstance, heat of the moment, split second, she's in chase. She thought she pulled the taser, screams the command, 'Taser, Taser, Taser!’”

Noble said he believes muscle memory from Officer Crews’ firearms training likely played a role in the incident.

“[Police] train constantly for firearm training,” he noted. “For Tasers, you may train once a year.”

“What happens is that muscle memory, you're in a high-stress situation, you’re running, you become tunnel vision and a muscle memory, you naturally go, you know what you’ve done the last thousand times, not what you’ve done the last two times in training,” Noble told KMOV.

But St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Wesley Bell argued that Officer Crews was “reckless” during the altercation, and alleged that her safety was never at risk, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Law enforcement officials and an internal review committee agreed that she should face charges, Bell added.

Noble said that part of the reason Officer Crews decided to resign from the force was to make sure she was not “a distraction to the Ladue Police Department and other police officers and the citizens of Ladue,” according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.

“It is with heavy heart that I hereby officially resign my employment as a police officer of the city of Ladue,” the veteran officer wrote in her resignation letter on May 3.

“As I expressed the day of the April 23 shooting incident, I continue to pray for the full and speedy recovery of [Hall] who suffered injuries as a result of an innocent mistake,” she continued. “I wish for the best for everyone involved and for everyone going forward.”

Crews faces up to seven years in prison if convicted, KSDK reported.

Ladue Mayor Nancy Spewak said she is “heartbroken” over the incident, and that the city police department is working to make sure that something like this never happens again.

“We take great pride in our community policing efforts, and we strive to treat every member of the public with respect and integrity, despite the natural conflicts that occur when police are called to aid a potential criminal situation,” Spewak said. “We are committed to doing everything in our power to learn from this and to minimize the potential of incidents like this in the future.”

The mayor said she is thankful that Hall is recovering from her wound.

“I want to offer my continued support to her family and to all of the men and women of the Ladue Police Department,” she added. “This has been a difficult time for all of us.”

Crews’ supporters have established a fundraising page to gather donations for her “upcoming expenses.”

“Julia is devastated by the events that occurred,” the page read. “She is a mother, wife and wonderful friend to many. She has touched many lives."

The fund has raised nearly $25,000.

Crews is currently out of jail, having posted 10 percent of her $20,000 bail, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

Comments (50)
No. 1-15
AnnykaV
AnnykaV

Nowhere else do we bring people up on felony charges for unintentional mistakes that are NOT clearly reckless. Yes, LEO mistakes can be deadly, but we don't haul surgeons out of hospitals to charge them with felonies if an operation doesn't go as expected.

Shameful.

RetCPSO
RetCPSO

Totally agree with AnnykaV!!

JBo
JBo

The officer made a mistake, whether from poor training, stress of the moment or pixie dust. The precipitating issue, other than the crime, was the failure to comply. Very simple word really, comply. So difficult for some people to understand. Harder still to do it.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Reckless to mistake gun for taser, especially when one has extensive police training in distinguishing them. Better to let the perp go than to take a chance of killing her. Would be good to see what lead up to the "struggle" to see whether the officer might have made this "mistake" on purpose.

Justme1950
Justme1950

Let me guess, the culprit was black ?????

walkintall
walkintall
  1. If the suspect doesn't try to escape, this doesn't happen, and
  2. In general, no criminality can be attached to a purely accidental event
Marxest
Marxest

Let's see: Black male Prosecuting Attorney lawfully charging a white female cop for "accidentally" shooting a non violent offender with her service weapon instead of her taser. Let the ethnic insults begin. I'm sure you guys will prove me right. Now was this an accident? Maybe, maybe not. It's definitely horrible and it has happened before, with fatal results. I wish Mr Ashley Hall to make a recovery and he is definitely entitled to compensation and free medical care for the rest of his life since it was an officer, former officer that grievously injured him. The former officer was performing her duties under the color of the law, but that doesn't exempt her from the consequences of a bad decision, whether be it judged criminal or otherwise. As for the former officer, Ms Crews, good luck. She will need it, just like her victim.

Burgers Allday
Burgers Allday

Sounds like the prosecutor doesn't think that tasering was justified in this situation. Maybe he has access to evidence we haven't seen or heard.

Copfamily
Copfamily

Accidental. Reflective of poor training perhaps. But, sure, throw that race card out there. Wouldn't be a conversation without it. These days, sneeze into a white tissue and you're a racist.

BlueLM101
BlueLM101

As much as I feel for this officer and what she is going through, that is one thing any officer needs to be 100% sure of and in control of. The "heat" of the moment cannot be in control. We train vigorously in how to maintain control. That includes situations and yourself. Yes, LEO's are human and as humans they make mistakes, but that is no excuse. My heart goes out to everyone involved.

xcop137
xcop137

This is where we have been heading for some time. A Police Officer is not allowed the luxury of making a mistake. It’s a tragic mistake but the suspect also by her actions contributed to the outcome. Now the Police Officer who was just doing her job goes to prison. One day soon we will have no police officers.

sanman899
sanman899

However sad and the ultimate outcome was not intended, DON'T commit crime and bad things WON'T happen, simple.

sanman899
sanman899

In addition to some of the thoughtless comments above that have NO idea what it is to be a cop in today's very dangerous and thankless world. Our officers today go in service with the thought of officers being shot from behind, ambushed and resist is a common occurrence. All the while the officer try's to remain professional and do their job by sometimes very redundant and limiting PC created policies. So yes accidents happen and they WILL become more frequent due to our officers being human and being put more and more on edge.

LAW169
LAW169

People shoplift today with no thought of being shot. That’s too bad. Maybe Ms Stickyfingers, if she survives, will think twice before stealing again ..... but I doubt it.

chiefd
chiefd

Five kids already, and her 17 yr old is pg? So, she shoplifts and steals, then resists arrest, gets shot and her mom says they are Christian?