I remember seeing Clay’s Wellston Food Market and Restaurant at the corner of Page and Stephen Jones avenues when I was driving around photographing old factories for my St. Louis Magazine article back in May of this year. Compared to its surroundings, it looks like something I would expect to see out in my rural explorations, not in an inner-ring suburb of a major city. Business was brisk on the last Saturday of June when I went back to photograph it as part of my travels to the near North County suburbs along Page, St. Charles Rock Road and Natural Bridge Avenue. I feel safe in pretty much the entire St. Louis region, but Wellston is one of the few places where I do not go unless I need to. I do not plan on going back any time soon.
Heading west up Page Avenue, I arrived at the North County Police Cooperative headquarters, which is in an old Pizza Hut building. It is not a police station, but rather I think more of an administrative building. The memorial to fallen police officer Michael Langsdorf had grown even larger than seen in previous news stories, and a small group of people were there when I arrived.
I remember years ago, when I lived in Washington, DC, a “turnstyle jumper” on the city’s Metro subway system had shot a police officer to death who had attempted to stop him. The fare at the time: $1.10. I remember remarking to myself how senseless it was to take a person’s life for such a small amount of money (it is always wrong to kill, regardless of the amount of money). The perpetrator now gets to sit in prison for the rest of his meaningless life because he was too cheap to pay $1.10 for a subway ride. I learned a week after Officer Langsdorf’s death that his murderer had been trying to cash a $6,000 check. I had just assumed he had tried to pass a bad check for $100 or at most $150.
“Why didn’t he just go for broke and try and cash a million dollar check?” I thought to myself.
Such stupid, senseless violence.