On Monday morning, a shocking incident took place in downtown St. Louis when a man believed to be homeless was fatally shot execution-style in broad daylight. The victim was later identified as David Saldana, a man in his 40s who was known to be unhoused.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, witnesses reported an altercation at a nearby Shell gas station moments before the shooting. Video footage captured the suspect, Deshawn Tomas, loading a gun, pointing it at Saldana, who was sitting on a curb on North Tucker Boulevard, and firing it.
Tomas was arrested a few hours later and charged with first-degree murder and armed criminal action. He reportedly fled the scene of the shooting but was apprehended by authorities as he entered a St. Louis public library branch.
The shooting has sent shockwaves through the local community, with Maj. Ryan Cousins of the St. Louis police describing it as “unnerving.” The incident has once again drawn attention to the issue of homelessness and the vulnerability of unhoused individuals to violent crimes.
A probable cause statement obtained by local television station KSDK-TV states that surveillance video shows Tomas “following the victim across the street and first shooting him in the back. As the victim begged for his life, [the suspect] loaded his firearm and shot him in the head.”
The incident has also raised questions about gun violence and the need for stricter gun control measures. Tomas’ arrest has provided some sense of closure for the victim’s family and the community at large, but the tragedy of Saldana’s death remains, and his memory will undoubtedly be honored by those who knew and loved him.