ST. LOUIS COUNTY - A St. Louis County police officer has died after being shot in Green Park in south St. Louis County Thursday morning.
The 33-year-old officer, Blake Snyder, had four years of service with the St. Louis County Police Department. He leaves behind a wife and a 2-year-old son.
Officer Snyder, who served in the Affton Southwest Precinct, and another officer were responding to a disturbance call just after 5 a.m. on the 10700 block of Arno Drive when the shooting occurred, a spokesperson for the department told NewsChannel 5.
Police say the 18-year-old suspect, Trenton Forster, opened fire “almost immediately upon the officer’s arrival,” striking Snyder point blank. Chief Jon Belmar says the wound was immediately fatal.
The second officer returned fire, striking Forster, who is listed in critical but stable condition. A NewsChannel 5 crew on scene counted at least 30 evidence markers on the ground.
Forster has been charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He's being held on a $1 million bond. He attended Lindbergh High School but withdrew in May of 2016. He lived on Sequoia Court in St. Louis, less than three miles from where the shooting happened.
Scene photos: Officer, suspect shot in south St. Louis County
Snyder was a 2001 graduate of Alton High School. Before becoming a police officer, he worked as a graphic designer at Destiny Church, where he met his wife Elizabeth.
Jim Stern, the lead pastor of Destiny Church, says everyone loved working with Synder. He says Snyder was a naturally quiet guy who was creative and had a great sense of humor.
“He showed up every day and delivered what he said he was going to do," Stern said. "He made an incredible difference in so many people’s lives, just by doing that."
The church remembers him of a man who was very trustworthy with great integrity.
Snyder also served on the board of Riverbend Family Ministries.
"His love for his family and friends was contagious and his commitment to the community he served was inspirational," described Tammy Iskarous, founder of Riverbend Family Ministries, a charity in Wood River where Snyder served on the board.
This is the first time an officer with the St. Louis County Police Department has died in the line of duty in nearly 16 years.
The last officer killed with the department was Sergeant Richard Weinhold on October 31, 2000.
Thursday's shooting marks the 10th death in the line of duty for the department.
Chief Belmar says there were no dash cams or body cameras in use at the time of the shooting.
Visitation for Snyder will be Wednesday from 4 to 9 p.m. at the Kutis Funeral Home Affton Chapel located at 10151 Gravois Road.
The funeral will be Thursday at 11 a.m. at the Family Church,17458 Chesterfield Airport Road, Chesterfield. Burial will be at the Valhalla Memorial Park in Godfrey.
Governor Jay Nixon has ordered all U.S. and Missouri flags to be lowered to half staff on Thursday from sunrise until sunset.