A 30-year-old employee at the Maryland Heights Community Center, Michael Honkomp, was reportedly upset over being sent home and allegedly pulled a gun on the on-duty supervisor. An officer was in the parking lot and engaged the suspect in a shootout.
“Being there must have been so scary. Being in the thick of a shootout, worrying for your life, must be terrifying,” senior Cole Bote said.
Chief of Police Bill Carson said Honkomp confronted 45-year-old Maria Lucas at the front desk of the community center after being sent home from work and shot her in the head. He then paced around the reception area with a gun in his hand.
“It is so crazy that someone could be driven to murder because of something so small. His motive was ridiculous and someone lost their lives because he was ridiculous,” senior Britney Delling said.
Carson said Honkomp opened fire the second the officer entered the building and the officer returned fire, hitting the suspect multiple times. The officer was not injured. Authorities said Honkomp did not immediately go down, and he and the officer continued to exchange gunfire until Honkomp was incapacitated.
“That officer should be proud of themselves. They prevented many lives from being taken. This is why we need security in public places,” junior Alanna Espinoza said.
The shooting happened just before 8:15 p.m. February 24. There were around 150 people inside, and police believe the officer may have saved many lives. Honkomp has been charged with first-degree murder, assault, armed criminal action, and resisting arrest.