A mentally ill Missouri woman committed suicide by shooting herself in the head with a police officer’s gun while getting a ride to a local hospital in a squad car on Wednesday.
The St. Louis County Police Department said Stephanie Hicks, 20, got into a struggle with an Alton police officer over his weapon.
Hicks' former boyfriend Eric Perry said she had been dealing with bi-polar disorder and decided to seek professional help.
On Wednesday morning, Hicks began walking from her home in Alton, to Christian Northwest Hospital about nine-and-a-half miles away. An unnamed officer found Hicks walking across the Clark Bridge, which crosses the Mississippi River at Alton, and called for an EMS crew to examine her.
Alton Police Chief David Hayes says that Hicks was not suicidal on the bridge, and was merely trying to get to the hospital. She was cleared by paramedics.
At around 9am, the officer pulled over and asked Hicks if she needed a ride. The 20-year-old got into the front seat because the back of the car is for prisoners, and Hicks was not in custody. When the vehicle reached Dunn Road and Highway 367, officials said the woman unexpectedly grabbed the pistol carried in a holster on the policeman’s right hip.
>Police said the officer told them Hicks didn't say anything in the car before unsnapping his holster and shooting herself. Hick's mother, Robin, says her daughter should have never been in position to grab the pistol. Furthermore, she questions how a 5'1 woman weighing less than 100 pounds was able to wrestle the officer's weapon from him.