BALLWIN — A Ballwin Police officer is in critical condition after he was shot in the neck during a traffic stop earlier today, sources say.

Sources say without further explanation that the officer was shot at least once from behind and there were at least three shots fired at him. A suspect was captured shortly later during a foot chase, the sources say.

A weapon was recovered, according to St. Louis County Police, who are taking over the investigation.

The male officer was taken to Mercy Hospital St. Louis, in Creve Coeur, police sources said.

A briefing by St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar and Ballwin Chief Kevin Scott was expected at 3 p.m. at Ballwin police headquarters.

The attack happened along New Ballwin Road south of Old Ballwin Road. A suspect was reported to be in custody after a foot chase in the area of Burgundy Lane in Manchester, several miles northeast of the shooting scene.

An older-model blue Ford Taurus with an Illinois temporary license plate, believed to be the car the gunman used, was found in that area, where it had knocked down a mailbox post.

A woman living in the 300 block of New Ballwin Road near the scene of the shooting said she heard two gunshots and ran out her front door to see what happened. After seeing the wounded officer, she grabbed a towel to put on his neck to try to stop the bleeding.

“I tried to help the officer,” the witness said. “I just hope he’s OK.”

She said her friend called 911 while a nurse performed CPR.

Other residents living near the scene of the shooting said they heard gunshots but didn’t know what they were.

“I thought it was kids or firecrackers or something,” said a resident on the street. “I’m looking outside at many, many police officers. They all need our prayers.”

Ballwin, with a population of about 30,000, is in west St. Louis County, along Manchester Road, west of Highway 141.

This is a breaking story. Check back for more details.

Ashley Jost and Natalia Alamdari of the Post-Dispatch contributed to this report.

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