GLADSTONE, Mo. -- A Northland woman drove by what she thought was a routine police traffic stop Sunday night, only to be horrified to hear gunfire a few moments later.
"Unfortunately the worst thing that could possibly happen, happened," the woman said, who asked that we identify her only as "Sarah."
A Gladstone police officer is recovering from a gunshot wound to his hand after investigators say a passenger in a car the officer had pulled over, shot him.
It happened at Northwest Vivion Road and 169 Highway, right on the border between Gladstone and Kansas City.
Those who live in the Briarcliff area say it's not unusual to see police conducting traffic enforcement, where the speed limit changes from 40 to 35 miles an hour.
That's what Sarah thought when she drove under the Highway 169 overpass at about 10:30 p.m., and saw a Gladstone officer walking up to a vehicle he had just pulled over.
As she passed, she says she locked eyes with the officer, and described a young man just doing his job.
Moments later, she got out of her car to hear gunfire from underneath the overpass, and immediately feared the worst.
"He was the only officer in the area and they had everything blocked off on Vivion," Sarah said. "You couldn’t get close enough to see, but I could obviously tell it was the officer I had just seen. He was the only officer there."
Investigators say a passenger in the stopped car ran from police and officers chased him on foot.
As police tried to take the suspect into custody, there was a struggle and the suspect pulled out a handgun. Shots were fired and the suspect,who is described as a man in his late teens, was fatally wounded. On Monday, police identified the young man as Jacob Stevens, 18. He graduated from Oak Park High School in 2014.
The police officer was shot in the hand.
Sarah fears being targeted herself. She calls shooting police officers the new normal and believes we must return to a time when people respect those who serve and protect the public.