Man charged in execution-style shooting death in downtown St. Louis

An execution-style shooting captured on camera by witnesses in downtown St. Louis is going viral.
Published: Feb. 28, 2023 at 6:10 PM CST
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - An execution-style shooting captured on camera by witnesses in downtown St. Louis is going viral.

“It’s scary, you know, of course. You get concerned about what’s going to happen to anybody else,” Syed Sajid said. “When I came here, I’d seen people standing outside, the guy was on the ground. I heard he was shot from close range.”

A witness shared the video with News 4 Monday night. It shows one man loading a gun and pointing it at a man sitting on the curb and shooting him in broad daylight. People can be heard in the full version of the video trying to get someone to call 911.

The incident happened on Monday just after 10 a.m. outside of 710 N Tucker Blvd near Lucas Ave in front of the Globe Building. Witnesses told police there was an altercation outside of the Shell gas station across the street that took place prior to the shooting.

“Yeah, there was the construction guys in that building. There were works from the other building. So, it was shocking for the whole downtown. And a lot of people went up close seeing how his face looked,” Sajid said.

Sajid owns Gold and Diamonds across the street from where the shooting happened. He arrived shortly after the incident.

“The way I look at it, if I was seven minutes earlier, I could’ve been caught up with it too,” he said.

Police arrested 23-year-old Deshawn Thomas in connection with the shooting. A probable cause statement obtained by News 4 shows Thomas faces charges for 1st Degree Murder and armed criminal action.

In the statement, police identify the deceased victim as David Saldana. On Monday, police indicated to News 4 that he appeared to be homeless. There are no additional details at this time on whether the two individuals were known to each other. News 4 could not find any previous charges for Thomas or identify if he was also considered to be unhoused.

“Obviously, the loss of life is massive, but as a businessperson downtown, I’m also concerned about the effect this has on the economic activity in downtown St. Louis,” said Brad Waldrop.

Waldrop owns several properties along Washington avenue in the downtown area and is a member of Citizens for a Greater Downtown St. Louis.

“What I understand is the altercation began at the Shell station. That doesn’t surprise me at all. There’s been 20 shootings at the shell station since 2019, and there’s been 600 calls for service,” Waldrop said. “It should’ve been shut down a long time ago.”

St. Louis Metropolitan Police provided data showing at least 16 shots fired or shooting calls in connection to the Shell gas station located off of Tucker Blvd and Lucas Ave since 2019, but this may not capture all incidents as a call could possibly come out at an intersection nearby the business.

“It’s just not the gas station. I think it’s the whole city in general,” said Sajid.

Business owners like Waldrop and Sajid both do agree enforcement and policing are among some of the biggest changes that are needed to prevent violence like this in the downtown region.

“During the day, we only have one traffic cop and four bike cops, and that’s just not sufficient to maintain safety and to maintain the tax base,” Waldrop said.

“More police enforcement maybe might help. They used to put the police satellites on this side, that was helping a lot,” said Sajid. “Probably enforcement might help the most, because even yesterday, [the] guy was laying down here at least 10-15 minutes.”

News 4 did contact the Shell gas station regarding any connection their location may have had to this shooting as well as general nuisance concerns, but a manager or owner was not immediately available to comment.

A city spokesperson did send out a statement in response to some of those public concerns:

“Through a collaboration of the Building Division, SLMPD, and the Law Department, the City works to hold nuisance property owners accountable. The Problem Properties Team meets regularly with the owner of the Shell gas station to review calls for service on the lot. The team has requested on-site security as well as security cameras to which the property owners have complied. We continue to review best security practices, and we are in regular communication with the owner.”