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Former St. Louis officer pleads guilty in Metro East shooting

By Rachel Lippmann, St. Louis Public Radio

St. Louis – AA former officer with the St. Louis police department has pleaded guilty to shooting a man outside a Metro East bar.

Bryan Pour, 28, was a probationary officer with the department when he shot and wounded Jeffrey Bladdick of Granite City during a 2008 altercation at Mack and Mick's Sports Bar and Grill in Granite City, which is now closed. Bladdick was apparently intervening in an altercation involving Pour when he was shot.

The Madison County state's attorney initially charged Pour with aggravated battery involving a firearm, a class X felony that could have sent Pour to prison for 30 years. Pour pleaded guilty Monday to illegally firing his department-issued weapon, and could face anywhere from probation to 15 years in prison when he's sentenced.

The Nov. 9, 2008 incident was a "tragic alignment of the moon and stars," said Pour's attorney, Albert Watkins, who praised the Madison County prosecutors for working with him to sort through the complicated events of that night.

"I don't believe there will ever be an ultimate narrative of this fact situation which will be reliable with any degree of certainty," Watkins said. "You had statements that were procured at the scene, you had statements that were procured during depositions, you had statements that were related in police reports, many of which were given by the same salient witnesses, all of which were inconsistent with the other."

Madison County prosecutor William Mudge disagreed. His office has a good idea of what happened that night, he said, which will be presented during Pour's sentencing hearing in October, but it wasn't easy to figure out.

"There were a lot of people at the scene, there were a lot of different perspectives and points of view of the witnesses, and a variety of people were under the influence of alcohol, including the defendant," Mudge said.

A second St. Louis probationary officer, Christopher Hantak, was shot by a Pontoon Beach officer who was responding to the fight when Hantak refused to drop his weapon. The Pontoon Beach officer was cleared of wrongdoing, and Hantak was terminated. He sued Pontoon Beach in federal court in an ongoing case. A third probationary officer, Philip Meyer, was also terminated. It's not clear what role he played in the incident.

The case briefly raised privacy issues when Watkins attempted to subpoena Facebook for messages and comments officers involved in the case had made on the social networking site. Watkins had started a federal civil action to pursue the information, he said, but is likely to drop that case. "If I had my druthers and unlimited financial resources, it would be great sport," he said, adding that it raises the question of when an officer can hide behind a role as law enforcement to claim privacy on Facebook.