ST. LOUIS — An argument inside a St. Louis home health care business escalated into gun violence Thursday when a man shot three other people before turning the gun on himself, police said.
The shooting occurred at AK Home Health Care LLC, one of several small businesses inside the Cherokee Place Business Incubator south of downtown St. Louis. The shooter gunned down another man and two women before turning his semi-automatic handgun on himself, police Captain Michael Sack said.
Authorities said the shooter either owned or was a co-owner of the small business and his three victims were employees. The victims’ names have not been released. Sack said they appeared to be in their early-40s to mid-50s in age.
“We don’t know if this was a thing that carried over into today or was initiated today,” Sack said.
An employee of another business in the building heard gunshots and called police.
Other businesses in the building include an attorney’s office and an African bazaar.
Abdi Salam Elmi, an immigrant from Somalia who drives a cab in St. Louis, said he was close to all four of the dead in Thursday’s shooting. He described them as hard- working, friendly people.
“They always smile for me. This is my worst day in my life. It’s a very, very sad day for us and a very sad day for the city of St. Louis.”
St. Louis has long struggled with urban violence, but the past week has seen a troublesome uptick in bloodshed. Police scrambled late Monday and early Tuesday to respond to five different shootings on the city’s north side that left 15 people wounded.
Elmi said as a cabdriver he sees too much violence in the city and is concerned about the recent shootings. “I feel the same as I did when I left Somalia,” he said, referring to the war-torn African country.
Meant to be a nurturer of start-up businesses, the Cherokee Place Business Incubator dates back at least a decade in a once-thriving business section about a five minutes’ drive from downtown.