Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fiancã©e Describes Photographer Killed in Cherokee Street Robbery. Police Say Violent Crime Unusual for the Area

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Fiancã©e Describes Photographer Killed in Cherokee Street Robbery. Police Say Violent Crime Unusual for the Area

Article excerpt

ST. LOUIS - A local photographer had plans to get married before he was shot and killed on Cherokee Street this week in what police described as a random robbery.

James Sapone, 48, who went by Anthony, was about to go out to dinner with his fiancée, Amy Sprandel, about 9 p.m. Monday in the 2700 block of Cherokee Street when they were approached by a man, Sprandel said Wednesday afternoon.

"Anthony had opened the car door for me like he always did," said Sprandel. "And this man walks up and they started having words. Anthony stood up for himself. That's who he was -- he didn't back down."

The man was attempting to rob Sapone, when a woman approached Sprandel and fought with her, trying to take her purse, Sprandel said.

"She was actually smiling at me," Sprandel said.

Soon Sprandel heard a loud bang, and the attackers ran off. Sapone had been shot and was lying on the ground. She called 911 and tried to give him CPR, but he stopped breathing before EMS arrived, Sprandel said.

"We were celebrating our one year anniversary," she said. "He had shown me the ring he was going to buy. I'm just ... devastated."

Sapone had served in the Navy before taking a job in the pharmaceutical business in St. Louis at MilliporeSigma. His true passion, though, was his side photography business and playing the guitar, said Sprandel. Sprandel dances under the stage name Ami Amore and Sapone was working on a song for her to dance to before his death.

"He was a deep thinker. I'd describe him as withdrawn," said Sapone's sister, Frankie Sapone-Henderson.

Sapone had moved to Cherokee Street to live with Sprandel less than a year ago. The couple worried about crime in the area, but enjoyed the artistic environment in the neighborhood known for antiques, bars and restaurants, Sprandel said.

"It's Cherokee Street, everybody knows there's a crime problem," said Sprandel. "But there's great people here and I guess you never expect anything like this."

But police say violent crime like this is rare on Cherokee Street today. …

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