A retired 77-year-old St. Louis police captain, who spent 38 years protecting his community, was shot dead by looters as he tried to defend a friend’s pawn shop amid violent protests Tuesday over the death of George Floyd.
The former police captain, identified as David Dorn, was killed outside of Lee's Pawn and Jewelry store in the 4100 block of Martin Luther King Drive around 2:30 a.m., police told KMOV4. Graphic video posted on social media shows Dorn’s final moments outside, which were reportedly streamed on Facebook Live. An unidentified man in the video says Dorn was killed by looters over television sets.
“Call the law man! Call the ambulance man! Come on, they just killed this man over some TVs cuz!” the distressed man in a copy of the video posted on YouTube said. He could also be heard trying to encourage Dorn, who appears to be still alive at the start of the video, to “stay with me.”
The Ethical Society of Police of St. Louis, founded in 1972 by African American Police Officers to address race-based discrimination within the community, and the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department confirmed Dorn’s death in a tweet Tuesday but said he would have given his life to save the looters if he had to.
“One of the people murdered last night was a retired St. Louis City Captain. He was murdered by looters at a pawnshop. He was the type of brother that would’ve given his life to save them if he had to. Violence is not the answer, whether it’s a citizen or officer. RIP Captain!” the group said.
President Donald Trump also praised the late police captain and said his killers are “despicable.”
“Our highest respect to the family of David Dorn, a Great Police Captain from St. Louis, who was viciously shot and killed by despicable looters last night. We honor our police officers, perhaps more than ever before. Thank you!” he said in a tweet.
He also promoted a fundraising campaign to help Dorn’s family that has already received more than $159,000.
In a pained response to Dorn’s killing at a press conference Tuesday, Missouri Gov. Mike Parson called for the arrest of the looters who killed the late captain.
"The people that shot him should be accountable. And, no, they're not protesters. They're criminals and they're thugs ... and hopefully they get hunt down," Parson said.
Dorn's son, Brian Powell, told KMOV4 that his father was “amazing” and had spent most of his life protecting his community.
"The fact that he was protecting and serving, this is the way. I feel in my heart of hearts that he would have liked to leave this earth," said Powell.
He said even though his father was no longer an active police officer, he would still make his duty to ensure his friend’s business was fine. Powell called his father’s killing senseless.
“It was senseless, it was senseless. Over TVs and stuff that's replaceable," he said. "They're forgetting the real message of the protest and the positiveness that’s supposed to come out of it. And we get this negative light shown on a situation that really needs light to be brought to it."
No arrests have yet been made for Dorn’s killing and authorities currently have no suspects. They are offering a $10,000 reward for information leading to an arrest.