Bonette Meeks, who was described as a “multi convicted felon” with an extensive and “violent” criminal history, was named by authorities as the suspect accused of having “executed” Michael Langsdorf, a police officer with the North County Police Cooperative, who responded to a Wellston, Missouri store for a report of a bad check.
The slain officer was a former firefighter who had more than 17 years of law enforcement experience. Horrifically, the aftermath of Langsdorf’s shooting was streamed in a graphic Facebook Live video. The video has now been removed from Facebook. Those who streamed and shared it are facing criticism. The suspect’s full name was given as Bonette Kymbrelle Meeks. You can watch the live police press conference here. It is extremely emotional, as the officer heading it broke down in tears. Meeks, 26, is now accused of 1st degree murder and unlawful possession of a firearm, along with other charges.
The officer’s family “is devastated. We do have officers dedicated to the family,” said Major Ron Martin in the press conference. “It’s a team effort….the list is endless of who’s helping us and who’s helping the family.” Martin grew emotional as he said, “Mike was a friend of mine. I’ve known Mike for over 20 years.” He wiped tears away.
“Mr. Meeks was successful in executing a cop yesterday and a good one,” he said, breaking down.
“Mike’s been in law enforcement for about 18 years,” Martin said, adding that he worked with Langsdorf back in St. Louis, when Langsdorf was on that police force. “You want to talk about a guy who just liked to be the police. It was in his blood. He wanted to help people…he would be there for anybody anywhere. He was well liked…not a bad word to say about him.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Martin Accused Bonette Meeks of ‘Executing’ the Officer as He Was Lying on the Ground
An extremely emotional Martin said that, at about 4:30 p.m, Langsdorf received a call to the market. He described it as a store located at a corner in the city of Wellston. The reason for the call was “someone was trying to pass a bad check…Officer Landgsdorf responded there, and he confronted this person who was trying to pass this bad check.”
A struggle ensued inside the store near the counter and the entire inside area of the store is covered by surveillance cameras so the entire incident was captured on surveillance video.
“Officer Langsdorf and the suspect…Bonette Kymbrelle Meeks…had a struggle on the floor. At some point, Officer Langsdorf was on top of Meeks. I don’t know how looking at the (surveillance) video Mr. Meeks was able to do it, but he was able to pull a gun from his waistband, strike Officer Langsdorf in the side of the head a few times, which caused Officer Langsdorf to be in kind of a daze and lose his hold on Mr. Meeks,” Martin continued. “Mr. Meeks was able to stand up and stand over Officer Langsdorf as Officer Langsdorf was on the ground, face down, stomach down. Mr. Meeks had the gun in his hand. Pointed the gun to the back of Officer Langsdorf’s head and fired one shot.” At that point, Martin broke down in tears.
That’s when he said: “Mr. Meeks was successful in executing a cop yesterday and a good one.”
“The shot didn’t hit him in his head. It hit him in his neck. His left rear neck is where the bullet entered. It traveled to his spinal cord, ricocheted, went to his central cavity and out his front chest,” said Martin. He said the officer was pronounced deceased at the hospital.
He said “Mr. Meeks ran with gun in hand outside the store” but he was found and captured on a nearby street still allegedly armed with the pistol “he used to murder Officer Langsdorf.”
Officer Langsdorf, who was identified as the slain officer by his chief, was shot and killed at Clay Wellston Food Market Restaurant, which is located about 15 minutes from St. Louis, Missouri. The shooting occurred in Wellston, Missouri.
“Mike was a pretty big part of us even though he was here for a short time. He had a lot of police experience,” said Martin, adding, “There is no such thing as a routine call. These are the dangers that our police officers in this community face every day.”
Chief John Buchannan released details of the officer’s death in a brief initial press conference. He said that the officer had responded to a business for a “bad check report.” Five minutes later, police received a call for an officer down. He released Langsdorf’s name and said he’d been with the department for three months.
A written statement by the police said:
NCPC Police Officer Michael Langsdorf, DSN 347, was shot and killed in the line of duty today at 6250 Page Avenue in the city of Wellston.
PO Langsdorf was dispatched there for a person trying to cash a bad check. After arriving, PO Langsdorf was shot by the person attempting to cash the bad check.
The person who shot and killed PO Langsdorf is in custody. A firearm was recovered.
Martin said that Meeks had confessed to the murder.
2. People Shared a Facebook Live Video Showing the Dying Officer, Sparking Criticism
Law Enforcement Today was extremely critical of people who both streamed and shared a Facebook Live that showed the aftermath of the officer’s death, including the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which the site wrote had included a link to the video in a story (it is no longer there, but the law enforcement site included a screenshot with its story.) The video has now been removed from Facebook. Heavy is not running the video.
“I’m writing this struggling knowing that thousands of people are already sharing a Facebook live of an officer’s death thanks to a mob mentality and irresponsible journalists,” read the article by Kyle Reyes.
Reyes added: “While police rushed to the scene, someone at the store streamed his final moments…her Facebook profile shows that she’s a cashier supervisor at the store. In the heartbreaking and disturbing video, you can see the officer moving. The person holding the camera is swearing about what happened.”
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper linked to the video in an article, and has now apologized for doing so. Heavy reached out to the editor of the Post-Dispatch for the newspaper’s side of things. The link is no longer in the newspaper’s story. Although the editor did not respond, the newspaper did subsequently run a story about the matter.
“I don’t know why I went to Facebook. I don’t know,” Kashina Harper, who streamed the video, told the Post-Dispatch, adding that she called for help before streaming. “I regret it. I didn’t know the officer was going to die.” She also said she held his hands. She can be heard in the video saying, “C’mon hurry up. Oh my god, I’m shaking.”
The newspaper also wrote: “The Post-Dispatch briefly linked to her video Sunday on STLtoday.com, then deleted the link. Posting the link was bad news judgment, and the newspaper apologizes to the officer’s family and readers.”
The terrible video shows the officer lying face down and clearly bleeding. There are two women who appear to be helping him as the other woman streamed the video. The chief, in a news conference, thanked the citizens who came to Langsdorf’s aid.
“The Facebook video is out there,” Martin said in the news conference. “I believe we’ve done our due diligence in removing that from Facebook. I don’t think it exists out there anymore. The woman that was live streaming the last moments of Officer Langsdorf is an employee of the store. She was very cooperative with our investigators. And another woman, I don’t recall if she was an employee of the store or just a patron, she went to Officer Langsdorf’s aid, tried to stop his bleeding. And she grabbed his walkie talkie and radioed on it, ‘You’ve got a policeman shot. You’ve got a policeman down.”
The video does show several women trying to help Langsdorf, including two who hold his hand. “Help him, God, help him,” one woman implores as another police officer starts CPR.
The chief said in a June 24, 2019 press conference that the department would “wrap our arms” around the officer’s family. He said Langsdorf was an “outstanding officer” who was “taking our young officers under his wing and was mentoring and guiding them.”
The chief said that Langsdorf told him several times that all he wanted to do was be a police officer and do police work. “’It was really all I knew how to do,'” the chief quoted the officer as saying. “He told me that numerous times,” said the chief.
The police chief said he wanted to thank the citizens who were on the scene at the market who “came to Mike’s aid and summoned help.”
3. Meeks Has an Extensive Criminal History in North Carolina
Police revealed that Meeks’ criminal history is from Raleigh, North Carolina. Meeks does turn up in North Carolina prison records. His name is alternatively given as Bonnett K. Meeks and Bonette Kymbrelle Meeks in those records.
According to the North Carolina records, he is a felon. In 2015, he was convicted of a felony drug offense, according to the records. He was released in late 2015. He was also convicted of a drug offense in 2013. In 2016, he was convicted of “POST RELEASE REVOCATION” but was released the following year, the records show. In 2013, he received probation for another felony drug offense. In 2011, he was convicted of additional felony drug offenses. In 2010, he received probation for a similar offense. In 2009, he was incarcerated for another drug offense, the records show.
“We believe he made it to St. Louis in January, but the majority of his adulthood was spent in Raleigh, North Carolina. He was not known to us,” said Major Martin, who called Meeks’ criminal history both extensive and violent.
Springdale Fire Protection District Battalion Chief Bill Modrosic described to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch how Langsdorf had worked as a volunteer firefighter. He also played hockey.
“I can’t believe it,” Modrosic said to the newspaper.
“He was a good man, and definitely a dedicated police officer. He liked being a firefighter, but once he became a police officer it was clear that that was what he was supposed to do.”
3. Langsdorf, Who Was Engaged, Left Behind Two Children
Backstoppers is an organization that helps the “spouses and dependent children of all police officers, firefighters and volunteer firefighters, and publicly-funded paramedics and EMTs in our coverage area who have lost their lives in the line of duty.”
It’s now helping the family of Michael Langsdorf.
Langsdorf was 40 and a father of two, the site says. According to the police, Langsdorf also left behind a fiance. “PO Langsdorf leaves behind two children, a fiancé, parents and an enormous amount of friends and family,” police wrote.
4. Langsdorf Was a Law Enforcement Officer for 17 Years
Langsdorf had a lengthy career in law enforcement.
“Officer Langsdorf had served with the North County Police Cooperative for three months, and was a 17 year veteran of law enforcement,” the Backstoppers site wrote on Facebook, which was confirmed by the police.
Jeff Roorda, Business Manager at St. Louis Police Officers Association, wrote a tribute to Langsdorf that read: “RIP OFFICER MICHAEL LANGSDORF.”
He posted the photo of Langsdorf working as a firefighter and wrote, “This picture kind of says it all for me. So much ugliness and hatred in the world and so much of it aimed at cops because of the lies a small group of very misguided radicals have told. Yet in the hearts of police, there is little more than love, compassion, courage and grace. And tonight, one less heart beats in our police family. We love you Mike and we already miss you. ‘Rage, rage against the dying light.'”
According to KMOV, the cooperative handles policing for seven counties.
5. The Governor Wrote That the Slain Officer ‘Was Bravely Carrying Out His Oath’
The governor offered a tribute, writing on Twitter, “Today, North County Police Cooperative Officer Michael Langsdorf was shot and killed responding to a call at a Wellston business. Our prayers go out to his family and fellow officers. Officer Langsdorf was bravely carrying out his oath to serve #NeverForget.”
Before working for the police cooperative, Langsdorf was an officer with the St. Louis PD.
The weapon had not been reported stolen. Police are still investigating “where it originated at,” Martin said.