Community Unites Behind Florissant Police Officer Mike Vernon
Another Fund-Raiser planned June 10 at Cugino’s Restaurant
By Carol Arnett
North County residents responded to the news that Officer Mike Vernon was shot with an outpouring of concern, prayer and donations. Following the successful fund-raiser at Joe’s Pub last weekend, another benefit for Officer Vernon will be held Sunday, June 10 starting at 11 am at Cugino’s Italian Bar and Grill, 1595 N. Hwy. 67 in Florissant. A Bags tournament starts at 2 p.m.. There will also be raffles, 50/50, plus auctions and prizes. For more information, call 831-3222.
Vernon was shot in the early morning hours of May 28. He was searching for a burglary suspect when he was ambushed and shot three times. Officers from across the St. Louis area responded to the call to help find the suspect.
Several streets near the intersection of Lindbergh and New Halls Ferry Road were closed as police on foot searched with the aid of a helicopter circling above.
The suspect, Brian Lamont Cannon Jr. of St. Louis, was apprehended. He has been charged by the St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney’s Office with: Assault in the First Degree of a Law Enforcement Officer, Armed Criminal Action, and Burglary in the Second Degree.
Vernon is being treated at DePaul Hospital. Florissant Mayor Tom Schneider said Vernon was “receiving visitors, sitting up, and having physical therapy.” Officer Vernon has a spinal chord injury
“He is a strong young man and he’s in good spirits,” Schneider continued. “He is very courageous.”
The Police Department said they have received “an outpouring of support and generosity” from residents. Several have called to offer donations, to express concern, and to say thank you to the police force.
On Wednesday night, a prayer vigil was held at Sacred Heart church in Old Town. Several churches in the area offered special prayers for Vernon at Sunday services.
The BackStoppers, a group dedicated to helping the families of police, fire and EMS officers killed in the line of duty and officers injured in the line of duty, donated $50,000 to Vernon.
“The Vernon family is in our thoughts and prayers for a speedy recovery.” said BackStoppers Executive Director Chief Ron Battelle. “We consider it an honor and a privilege to be able to assist Officer Vernon in this time of need.”
A fundraiser was held on Saturday, June 2, for Vernon at Joe’s Pub in Old Town. Approximately 5,000 people turned out for barbecue, music, and raffles, all benefiting Vernon. Tents were set up on the parking lot, the city’s portable stage was set up outside, and St. Francois Street was closed to traffic on the block with the pub.
“It was a spur of the moment thing,” Schneider said. “Not just Florissant but all of the community came together quickly. It really shows the spirit and generosity of our residents.” The mayor thanked Joe’s Pub for hosting the event and everyone who turned out and donated money.
Vernon is a United States Army Veteran. He served two tours of duty in Iraq before joining the Florissant Police Department. He started as a corrections officer and then became a police officer.
The Florissant Police Department has warned that there are some scam artists calling residents and claiming to raise money for Vernon.
The Florissant Police Department wants to make the public aware that we are in no way soliciting donations over the phone, and if you are contacted by one of these persons, to call the police.
Mayor Schneider said that right after the incident “we began receiving calls from concerned citizens who wanted to offer their support and inquired about donations
Monetary donations can be sent to the Florissant Police Welfare Association, in c/o Officer Mike Vernon, 1700 N. Hwy 67, Florissant, MO 63031.
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