A St. Louis County police officer was forced to defend himself and his family when a young man showed up at his Lakeshire, MO home looking to end a Facebook fight over the Black Lives Matter movement.
According to police, the officer, his wife, mother-in-law, a toddler and an infant were in the home Saturday night when 20-year-old Tyler Gebhard rang their doorbell. When the officer’s wife answered the door with the infant and recognized the 6-foot-1, 220-pound Gebhard, she closed the door – quickly joining other family members in a back bedroom of the home.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said that before the officer could get to the front door, Gebhard went to the rear of the house and threw the concrete planter through a window to enter the home. Family members in the bedroom said they heard the officer tell the intruder to “get down, get down, get down,” and then heard several shots fired, Belmar said.
Police confirmed the family knew the young man, having met him through a church connection, however Gebhard had recently made online threats toward not only the officer’s family, but also “uninvolved members of the community.”
Patrick Brogan, Gebhard’s uncle, told the Post-Dispatch that the two men had gotten into a heated argument regarding Black Lives Matter on Facebook. Brogan said that while he did not participate in BLM protests, his bi-racial nephew did empathize with and support the movement’s cause.
“As far as a person (he) was the nicest kid you could ever meet,” Brogan said. “He was just a normal 20-year-old.”
However, Brogan did confirm his nephew, who was a star player on the Affton High School football team and went on to play for Southeast Missouri State, did not always take the medication he was prescribed to manage his bi-polar disorder.
“He had a lot of mental problems the last few months,” Brogan said. “A lot of difficulties in life.”
Gebhard was shot twice in the chest and was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at a local hospital.
The officer, whose name is not being released, has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation into the shooting.
“I don’t think the officer had a choice — I honestly don’t,” Belmar said. He agreed his nephew had put the officer in “a very difficult position.”