ST. LOUIS — David Dorn was trying to help a friend.
The retired St. Louis police captain was shot to death early Tuesday during a violent night of protests in which four active St. Louis police officers were also shot. Dorn, who also served as police chief in Moline Acres, was 77, according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
His killing was captured on a Facebook Live video.
The violence was part of protests in cities across the U.S. following the May 25 death of George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer kneeled on Floyd’s neck for several minutes during a forgery arrest. Like the aftermath of Dorn’s shooting, Floyd’s killing was captured on cellphone video.
The protests began peacefully but grew violent overnight, authorities said.
Dorn’s wife, St. Louis police Sgt. Ann Marie Dorn, told the Post-Dispatch her husband responded to his friend’s pawn shop any time the burglar alarm sounded. He was doing so when he was slain.
The video of Dorn’s death was taken down shortly after it was broadcast, according to The Associated Press. A Facebook spokesperson told the Post-Dispatch, however, that the removal was a mistake because the video did not expressly violate the platform’s policy on violent or graphic content.
“We’re saddened by what took place in St. Louis yesterday,” the Facebook spokesperson told the newspaper. “Under our policies, the video has been covered with a warning screen but remains on the platform so that people can raise awareness or condemn this event.”
Snippets of the video remained on Twitter Wednesday. In the footage, Dorn lies on his back, his cellphone still in his hand.
Blood runs from his body in rivulets, pooling in the cracks of the sidewalk as he struggles to stay alive.
“Come on, man! Stay with me,” the man recording the footage cries.
Click here to see the disturbing footage. Warning: The video contains graphic images.
He appears to scream at looters as they run away.
“All for some TVs, man?” the man shouts, telling them that Dorn was “somebody’s granddaddy.”
Missouri state Rep. Rasheen Aldridge was one of the people who helplessly watched Dorn die via Facebook.
“I just seen a man die on Live, man,” Aldridge wrote on Facebook. “Smh (shake my head).”
Aldridge, D-St. Louis, told the Post-Dispatch he was shaken by what he saw.
“Very traumatized right now,” the representative wrote in a message to a reporter.
St. Louis Regional Crime Stoppers is offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who killed Dorn.
The group is also offering $100,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of the person or people who shot four St. Louis police officers early Tuesday. According to the Post-Dispatch, all four officers were alert and conscious at the scene.
Their injuries were not life-threatening.
“I believe some coward randomly shot at the police line,” St. Louis police Chief John Hayden said during a briefing on the officers’ condition.
Hayden described the night’s violence as “mayhem.” The AP reported that along with the officers who were shot, other St. Louis officers were pelted with rocks and fireworks.
A total of 55 businesses were burglarized or damaged, including a convenience store that was burned down, the AP said.
“I don’t know what else to say,” the chief said. “This is horrible.”
Hayden told the Post-Dispatch that officers would be wearing black mourning bands on their badges in honor of Dorn, who the AP reported served 38 years on the St. Louis police force. After retiring in 2007, he became chief of the Molene Acres Police Department.
Watch Chief John Hayden speak about the shooting of four St. Louis police officers below, courtesy of KSDK.
“Many of us, the other officers, looked up to him,” Hayden said of Dorn, according to the AP. “Was very well-liked, very pleasant. And his wife still works here. So, a very sad time for our agency. We will honor him.”
The Ethical Society of Police, a group established in 1972 to aid black police officers in St. Louis, described Dorn as “the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to.”
“Violence like this is not the answer, whether it’s a citizen or officer,” a statement on the group’s Facebook page reads. “Our prayers are with his family and friends.”
Missouri Gov. Mike Parson wrote in a statement that Floyd should not have died on May 25. Dorn shouldn’t have died, either, he wrote.
“What Minneapolis police officers did to George Floyd isn’t acceptable and they MUST be held accountable. What criminals have done in St. Louis and across Missouri the past few nights isn’t acceptable. They MUST be held accountable,” Parson wrote on Facebook. “Their conduct had nothing to do with protesting – nothing to do with George Floyd – it was criminal behavior.
St. Louis County Councilman Tim Fitch, himself a former St. Louis police chief, called Dorn a “true public servant.”
“Protecting & serving all the way to the end,” Fitch tweeted. “None of us who knew you are surprised you went out fighting at Lee’s Pawn this morning. God speed my friend.”
Fitch told the AP that Dorn’s personality was “bigger than life.”
“He was a fun guy, a happy guy,” Fitch said. “You never had to wonder what he was thinking when somebody did something incredibly stupid like a crime because he would just say it as he saw it.”
Missouri Department of Public Safety officials wrote in a Facebook post that Dorn devoted his career to serving his community.
“He treated everyone with respect and dignity,” the post read. “His murder is another painful example of the terrible cost crime has on the good people of all our communities.”
A Fundly fundraiser for Dorn’s family, which had a goal of $15,000, had raised nearly $195,000 as of noon Wednesday. Dorn’s wife wrote on Facebook that the page was the only legitimate fundraiser set up to memorialize her husband.
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