Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Suspect in Teacher's Shooting near Francis Howell High School Chose Victim at Random, Police Say

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Suspect in Teacher's Shooting near Francis Howell High School Chose Victim at Random, Police Say

Article excerpt

A man from Winfield was charged Friday with shooting a Francis Howell High School teacher who jogged past him on a trail.

Joshua R. Curtis, 35, was being held in lieu of $500,000 bail Friday. St. Charles County prosecutors charged him with first-degree assault and armed criminal action. Curtis was arrested Thursday.

The teacher, 36, was shot Wednesday afternoon on a trail in the conservation area near the high school. The teacher was treated at a hospital and released Wednesday night. The teacher is identified in court documents only by his initials, C.W.

The teacher was running about 2:45 p.m. Wednesday on a trail he knows well called the Hamburg Trail when he crossed paths with a stranger. The stranger was the only person the teacher saw on the trail that day. The stranger, wearing a black or brown coat, was walking toward the teacher. The teacher made a gesture with his head acknowledging the man, now identified as Curtis. The stranger did not acknowledge the teacher.

About 30 yards after the teacher ran past Curtis, the teacher heard a loud bang, felt pain in his back and fell to his knees, police say.

While on his knees, the teacher looked over his shoulder and saw Curtis standing on the paved trail, pointing a gun at him, police say. Then, Curtis fired two more shots, police say. The teacher sprinted toward Highway D, screaming for help.

The teacher flagged down the first car he saw on the highway. The driver gave him a ride back to the school.

According to a probable cause statement filed in court, a witness who was fishing at a lake in the Busch Wildlife Area heard a gunshot, then a "blood-curdling scream," followed by two more shots.

Another witness was riding his bike on the Hamburg Trail, a quarter-mile south of Highway D, about 2:30 p.m. He told police he rode past a man. The witness now tells police that the man matches Curtis' description. …

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