MARYLAND HEIGHTS, Mo. – On Feb. 24, 2020, a gunman killed a co-worker at the Maryland Heights Community Center and then turned his weapon on a police officer who had rushed in to meet the danger.
Last week, gunman Michael Honkomp was sentenced to life plus 15 years behind bars. The officer who apprehended the gunman, Larry Jerrod, was in the courtroom for the sentencing and said he was satisfied with the court’s decision.
Officer Jerrod is believed to have saved lives that night with his actions.
Honkomp pleaded guilty in December 2021 to second-degree murder and five other felonies.
Honkomp admitted to killing Maria Lucas after an argument. He worked part-time as a janitor at the community center.
Prosecutors said Honkomp had been sent home for disciplinary reasons earlier in the day and was angry about it.
Honkomp returned to the community center and had a brief conversation with Lucas at the front desk before shooting her with a 9mm handgun. Lucas died at the scene. She was 45.
Moments after the shooting, a woman ran outside the community center and went looking for help. Fortunately, Officer Jerrod was already in the parking lot. He’d just completed filling out a report at the Maryland Heights police substation, which is located in the community center.
After being told about the shooting, Jerrod radioed for assistance but did not wait for backup. He went inside to confront the gunman to prevent any additional violence.
Jerrod said he demanded Honkomp drop his weapon. Instead, the shooter opened fire at Jerrod and two exchanged gunfire.
Jerrod told FOX 2’s Elliott Davis he was scared during the encounter and thought he might die, but his training kicked in, which allowed Jerrod to overcome his nerves.
There were more than 100 other people huddled in the community center as gunfire raged. Jerrod succeeded in wounding Honkomp and taking him into custody.
Honkomp had been diagnosed with various mental disorders and struck a plea deal with prosecutors. Jerrod joined members of Maria Lucas’ family in court for last Friday’s sentencing.
Jerrod hopes his example will serve as a reminder to the community that police are here to protect and serve; and that they will put their lives on the line for total strangers.
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