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2 St. Louis-area cops shot but saved by bulletproof vests

Police officers work the scene where two St. Louis County officers were shot and a man barricaded himself inside a home on Thursday, Dec. 14, 2017, in the St. Louis County town of Bellefontaine Neighbors, Mo. Officers are trying to negotiate his surrender. (Robert Cohen/St. Louis Post-Dispatch via AP)

A gunman shot two suburban St. Louis police officers in the chest during a standoff Thursday, but their bulletproof vests apparently saved them from serious injury.

The shooting happened before 8 a.m. in the city of Bellefontaine Neighbors.

A witness, Steve Jones, told reporters that the officers were trying to reason with the man when they suddenly tackled him on a lawn. He said the officers used pepper spray on him when the man started to stand up, and that the man then shot the officers from about 15 feet away. He then ran down the street and barricaded himself in a house, where police were trying to negotiate his surrender.

Bellefontaine Neighbors Mayor Bob Doerr told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that both officers were conscious and talking after the shooting and are going to be OK. He said one is a male sergeant and the other is a female patrol officer.

"They were wearing their bulletproof vests, so thank God," Doerr said. Both were struck by at least one bullet, he said. The vests were purchased for officers about a year ago.

He did not know what led to the shooting.

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