ST. LOUIS — A St. Louis grand jury indicted a St. Louis police officer accused of shooting an unarmed man multiple times in the back.
Officer Matthew EerNisse was charged with first-degree assault and armed criminal action in October. Tuesday’s indictment means his case will now proceed to trial.
His attorney, Scott Rosenblum, said the indictment was “expected.”
“Once the facts come out in this case, he will be exonerated,” Rosenblum said.
On Aug. 27, 2018, EerNisse pursued a stolen Mustang that police said was stolen in a carjacking earlier in the evening. The chase started at 4949 Natural Bridge and continued to the 1100 block of Clara.
The person in the Mustang got out of the car after losing control, according to court documents. The chase continued on foot to the 5500 block of Chamberlain Avenue.
Police refer to the man who had been driving the Mustang as A.K. On the day of the shooting, Chief John Hayden said the man scaled a boarded-up gate as EerNisse fired. Police said he continued firing even after he was unable to see A.K.
Police found A.K. with multiple gunshot wounds. Court documents said after further investigation, it was determined he was shot in the back.
No gun was found on A.K. or at the scene, according to investigators.
St. Louis police said EerNisse had been on administrative duty since the shooting. He has been on unpaid administrative leave since he was first charged. He joined the department in February 2016.
The department has not released the identity of A.K., saying they do not identity living victims.
Police have referred 5 On Your Side to the city’s Circuit Attorney’s Office for questions about whether A.K. was ever arrested or charged following the incident.
The Circuit Attorney’s Office has not yet responded to 5 On Your Side’s request for comment.