Pattonville Community Shocked as More Shootings Continue to Take Place


Matthew Jacobi

The recent shooting in Maryland Heights happened just before 5:30am. Three Pattonville schools closed and moved to a virtual day.

Two shootings have taken place in Maryland Heights in the past week alone, and another one in St. Charles, leading to a virtual learning day for some schools in the district.

Due to an active police search near campus after a group of individuals fled a shooting in St. Charles, Pattonville High School, along with Rose Acres Elementary School and Holman Middle School called a virtual learning day just before 6:40 am on Monday, January 9.

In a statement made by associate principal Gene Grimshaw, they were made aware of the incident early Monday morning.

“School resource officers provided valuable information and advice as district leadership considered steps to be taken in order to keep students and staff safe,” Grimshaw said. “With the start of the school day quickly approaching, it became apparent the best course of action was to cancel in-person learning at PHS.”

Grimshaw’s statement concluded by thanking “all law enforcement officers involved in this pursuit and thanks the Maryland Heights Police Department for their response to this incident, for the quick resolution to a dangerous situation, and for their continued support of our school district.”

Kate Tabers, a PHS parent, said that her kid was picked up by the school bus on Monday.

“[She] was picked up by the bus, but then shortly after she was informed she needed to go home due to an emergency at the high school,” Tabers said. “That was the only information we were given until the school send out an email about 20 minutes later.”

“At first, we weren’t too nervous,” Tabers added. “An emergency could have involved something as small as a burst water pipe. I found out from a friend who is a dispatcher what was going on, and it made us a little more nervous.”

Senior Krystal Jimenez said that she didn’t get picked up by the bus, but “my stop mates were waiting for about 10 minutes outside and then the bus came to let us know that an emergency came up and everyone had to go back home for virtual learning.”

“I didn’t see anyone at the bus stop until a few minutes past pick up and the bus was running late which never happens,” Jimenez said.

Tabers thought that the district did the right thing by calling a virtual day. “I do, however, think they waited too long to make those decisions.”

This comes after the shooting at the Maryland Heights Dobbs Auto and Tire on January 4. In a press release done by the Maryland Heights Police Department, a 23-year-old employee, Deshawn Johnson, got into an argument with another employee, 52-year-old Reginald Brandy, and Johnson shot Brandy multiple times, leading to Brandy’s death. Johnson was charged with second-degree murder and armed criminal action.

Another shooting in Maryland Heights took place on Friday, January 6 at PrideStaff on Dorsett Rd. A masked man entered the business and robbed PrideStaff. An employee confronted him in an alley behind the business and was shot.

Remington Traditional and Heights Middle School went on lockdown for around two hours Friday due to the shooting until dismissal.

With all three recent shootings in the community, parents and students are concerned and wondering if this is the new normal.

“All of these shootings are really concerning me because if this continues, I worry about the environments that kids are learning in the district,” Jimenez said. “I wouldn’t want my kids or anyone to go [to school] when these things are happening, as this could lead to where they might not focus in school and just worry about their safety.”

Tabers lives a mile away from PrideStaff. “Shootings are something you think about when you say Maryland Heights. You hate to see violent crime anywhere, but when it’s that close to home, it makes you uneasy.”


Timeline of January 9 Events