City Council Shooting in Kirkwood Missouri

February 8, 2008 12:00:00 AM PST
Six people are dead this morning after a man opened fire at a city council meeting in a suburb of St. Louis, Missouri. The gunman, Charles Lee Thornton was apparently a disgruntled contractor who complained the city was tormenting him with 150 parking tickets. Thornton was shot and killed by police.The shooting began on the street outside the city council meeting in Kirkwood, Missouri when the suspect, Charles Lee Thornton arrived around 7pm . Witnesses say he first shot a police officer leaving the building, then went inside, where he repeatedly shouted "shoot the mayor."

Officer Tracy Panus of the Kirkwood Police Department explained, "He has shot a total of seven people this evening, killing five of those people and then Kirkwood Police Officers returned fire and did shoot and kill him."

Killed were a councilmember, two police officers, and two other public officials before Kirkwood Police arrived and shot the suspect dead. The mayor and several others were also wounded. About 30 people were at last night's meeting, which left community members shaken.

Charles Lee Thornton, also called "Cookie," was well known at Kirkwood's city council meetings and had been convicted twice for disruptive appearances.

His last words to his family before heading out for the final meeting he'd ever attend were "To god be the glory."

"Well, I guess the ones that he shot was the ones that he felt like done him harm. That's the way that I feel," said Charles' mother Annie Bell Thornton.

Last month a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit in which Thornton claimed the town's council had violated his free speech rights by preventing him from speaking out at their meetings.


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