FLORISSANT, Mo. – A frightening incident unfolded at the O’Fallon Park Recreation Complex parking lot in Florissant Thursday night after a neighborhood town hall meeting.

Precious Jones, her 9-year-old nephew Prince Jones, her 8-year-old daughter and State Rep. Kimberly Ann Collins stayed after the meeting to discuss community needs. That’s when they heard gunshots. 

“Shortly, we heard gunshots, but you know they were afar. So, we continued the conversation. Then, a few moments later, the guns came. And they were like, really, really close,” Precious said. “You heard the bullets hitting the poles, hitting the metal objects around us, so we all had to run for cover.”

Jones just so happened to be recording a conversation when shots rang out.

She made three calls to 911, but there was a lack of response from emergency services, according to Precious. Police arrived 13 minutes later, when Collins had contacted a police captain and Precious reached out to an EMS worker.

Prince remembers hearing the bullets fly right past his head.

“It was like they were aiming at my face; that’s when they shot,” he said.  

Police told FOX 2 that there are at least 300 vacancies within the force. Precious says this incident highlights the critical need for the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department to address its staffing shortage and improve response times.

“Because no one was injured, no one, in fact, had been shot, we allowed officers to go in on a priority 2 response. If someone had been shot? We would’ve been going in with lights and sirens,” Mitch McCoy, director of Public Affairs and Information Division with SLMPD, said.

Precious Jones’ son was murdered due to gun violence in 2022. Jones started the Breaking Generational Poverty Foundation in hopes of stopping gun violence. She feels the city needs to do more to prevent these incidents.

“I think it would probably be a good thing for the state to come in to aid in some assistance, just with the mayor and the chief. It’s not cutting it. It’s doing it,” Precious said.

Police received two 911 calls from outside and one from inside of the center, with the first call at 9:53 p.m. Officers arrived by 10:06 p.m.

Anyone with information is urged to contact the Sixth District Detective Bureau at (314) 444-0001.