'Trunk-Or-Treat' Event Turns To Chaos After Cop Allegedly Starts Shooting, Makes Death Threats

No one was injured in the shooting, and St. Louis County police officer McCulloch is facing multiple criminal charges.

A “trunk-or-treat” event hosted for Missouri elementary school students on Sunday was interrupted by gunfire from a man who witnesses said was “pushing people and being verbally aggressive,” authorities announced.

Matthew P. McCulloch, a 39-year-old St. Louis County police officer, was charged with multiple crimes after he allegedly made death threats to event attendees and fired 11 rounds from his gun, according to a Kirkwood, Missouri, police officer in a sworn affidavit included in McCulloch’s criminal complaint.

No one was injured in the shooting, and in addition to being arrested, McCulloch is facing an internal police investigation.

Officer Matthew McCulloch.
Officer Matthew McCulloch.

According to a press release by the Kirkwood Police Department, McCulloch and his family were attending the event at Kirkwood North Middle School along with hundreds of local children and their parents. Trunk-or-treat events are an alternative to traditional trick-or-treating, where community members can gather in one space and costumed children go from car to car to receive candy.

Police said that McCulloch approached numerous attendees at the event and made aggressive statements such as “You are all going to die.”

According to the affidavit, one person shoved McCulloch in the chest, prompting him to fall on the ground, after the officer made threats against him and his wife.

McCulloch then got up from the pavement, displayed his gun and badge and began firing in an upward direction “approximately a dozen times” while shouting that the attendees were going to die, authorities said.

Some children were separated from their parents while McCulloch was allegedly firing his gun “indiscriminately,” prompting some school personnel to step in and shelter them. Four children in particular “frantically ran for cover,” the charging document said.

Several bystanders then tackled McCulloch and seized his weapon, police said.

This file photo shows an example of a decorated car for a "trunk-or-treat" event.
This file photo shows an example of a decorated car for a "trunk-or-treat" event.
EyeWolf via Getty Images

Court records show that he is currently held on $500,000 bond and is charged with four counts of endangering the welfare of a child, five counts of armed criminal action, making a terrorist threat and unlawful use of weapons. The affidavit noted McCulloch’s position as a police officer, his access to weapons, and the erratic and violent nature of the alleged crime at a public event as reasons he posed a danger to the community.

McCulloch is the son of longtime St. Louis County prosecuting attorney Robert McCulloch, who retired in 2019 and came under national scrutiny as he oversaw the case against the police officer who shot 18-year-old Michael Brown in Ferguson, Missouri.

The retired prosecutor addressed the allegations against his son in a statement to local news outlet KMOV, saying he was grateful no one was physically injured.

“However, we are also painfully aware that an incident such as this can and does cause significant emotional trauma to those, especially children and their parents, who witness such an event,” he said. “Our thoughts and prayers are with those victims.”

In a statement to HuffPost, St. Louis County Police Chief Kenneth Gregory said that Matthew McCulloch has been placed on unpaid administrative leave pending an internal investigation.

“We were disappointed to learn that the actions of one of our officers caused a disturbance in the City of Kirkwood on Sunday,” Gregory said. “In a profession where we are called to keep the peace, this display of disregard for safety is concerning. We are very grateful that no one was hurt.”

An attorney listed for McCulloch did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment.

Immediately following the shooting, nearby Tillman Elementary School — where many of Sunday’s trunk-or-treat attendees are students — announced that school was closed for classes and after-school activities on Monday.

“The Tillman school community experienced an incident no family or staff should have to confront,” the school statement said. “We are deeply grateful for the lack of injuries but acknowledge that this traumatic event will reverberate through the school community during the coming days, weeks, and months.”

“School events should be a safe place where we all feel welcome and togetherness is celebrated,” a statement from the Tillman Elementary PTO released after the incident read. “We are heartbroken for what our community experienced and incredibly thankful no one was physically hurt.”

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