A Missouri police officer is facing criminal charges after shooting eleven rounds in the air during a “trunk-or-treat” kids event held at a middle school.
Fortunately, nobody was hurt.
"Trunk-or-treat" is an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, and is considered safter, since community members gathers in one location and costumed participants go from car to car to receive candy.
The event, which was held at a middle school and was attended by students from nearby Tillman Elementary School, was interrupted by the suspect.
Witnesses said the suspect was:
“Pushing people and being verbally aggressive."
The suspect was Matthew P. McCulloch, a 39-year-old officer from the St. Louis County Police Department, who was at the event with his family.
Kirkwood Missouri Police Department issued a statement saying officers reported to Kirkwood Middle School located on Manchester Road in response to a "disturbance in progress during an event."
The statement continued:
"As the Officers were responding, the situation escalated and the reporting party stated the subject now had a gun and had fired multiple shots."
Before officers arrived at the scene, KMPD said the suspect was tackled and subdued by a group of parents.
McCulloch was taken into custody and, as the statement concluded, "No one was injured."
People remained baffled over the incident, which could have had fatal consequences.
The violence was allegedly prompted by an argument involving McCulloch and another adult, and the verbal exchanging and physical altercation led to McCulloch shooting multiple shots in the air.
One witness said a person shoved McCulloch in the chest, causing him to stumble to the ground after the officer made threats against him and his wife.
Authorities said McCulloch got to his feet, displayed his gun, and began firing upwards “approximately a dozen times” while shouting that the attendees were going to die.
Court records indicated McCulloch is currently held on a $500,000 cash-only bond and is charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, five counts of armed criminal action, first-degree terrorist threat, and unlawful use of a weapon.
McCulloch is reportedly the son of retired St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert McCulloch, who faced public scrutiny for overseeing the case against the police officer who fatally shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in August 2014 in Ferguson, Missouri.
You can watch a news report of the trunk-or-treat shooting, below.
Robert McCulloch, who retired in 2019, issued a statement to KMOV and expressed relief that nobody was injured during the altercation involving his son.
The retired prosecutor said:
“However, we are also painfully aware that an incident such as this can and does cause significant emotional trauma to those, especially children and their parents, who witness such an event."
“Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims.”
St. Louis County Police Chief Kenneth Gregory told the Huffington Post that the suspect was placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.
Chief Gregory said:
“We were disappointed to learn that the actions of one of our officers caused a disturbance in the City of Kirkwood on Sunday.”
“In a profession where we are called to keep the peace, this display of disregard for safety is concerning."
"We are very grateful that no one was hurt.”
Following the incident, Tillman Elementary School, where many of the kids at the event are students, announced in a statement that the school was closed on Monday.
The school statement read:
“The Tillman school community experienced an incident no family or staff should have to confront."
“We are deeply grateful for the lack of injuries but acknowledge that this traumatic event will reverberate through the school community during the coming days, weeks, and months.”
A statement from the Tillman Elementary PTO released after the incident read:
“School events should be a safe place where we all feel welcome and togetherness is celebrated."
“We are heartbroken for what our community experienced and incredibly thankful no one was physically hurt.”