A U.S. marshal has died after being shot in the head during St. Louis gun battle, the Marshals Service said tonight. The marshal, 48-year-old Deputy John Perry, was one of a team trying to arrest a man on charges of drug possession and assaulting a law enforcement officer.
The agency said Perry died 7 p.m. at Saint Louis University Hospital. He had been with the U.S. Marshals Service for almost 10 years.
A second marshal was wounded, along with a St. Louis city police officer.
The gunman, who was killed in the standoff, was identified by federal officials as Carlos Boles, 36, who had served a 10-year prison term for a 1992 assault.
Boles was arrested again in October 2010 and charged with possession of marijuana, resisting arrest, and assaulting a police officer.
"Our deputies and law enforcement partners face danger every day in the pursuit of justice for the citizens of this great nation," said Stacia Hylton, the director of the Marshals Service. "Our people and our partners are well trained and prepared, but it is impossible to predict when a wanted individual will make a fateful choice that results in the loss of life or injury.
"When that happens, and the life lost is a law enforcement officer or other public servant, it is an immeasurable tragedy felt by all," said Hylton in a statement. "Today, unfortunately, we again feel that pain. Our thoughts and prayers are with our fallen deputy as well as the injured and their families."
Sannita Vaughn, the sister of Boles, the suspect, spoke to reporters outside the home where the shootout happened.
"All we know is, they killed him," Vaughan said.
The officers were attempting to serve an arrest warrant at Boles' home when he opened fire with a semi-automatic pistol.
A shot fired at the St. Louis police officer ricocheted off his bullet-proof vest and entered his shoulder. He appears to have a broken shoulder, sources said.
The other marshal is believed to have been shot in the leg or foot.
When authorities arrived at the suspect's home, he told them, "I'm only going out in a body bag," ABC News radio affiliate KTRS reported.
Three children were taken by from the home before shots were fired.
"Two Deputy U.S. Marshals and one task force officer from the Eastern District of Missouri were serving an arrest warrant this morning at a residence in St. Louis when they were involved in a shooting – all three were struck by gunfire and have been taken to a local hospital," Jeff Carter, spokesman for the U.S. Marshals said in a statement immediately after the shooting.
The shootings are the latest in a string of police casualties this year.
Thirty-seven law enforcement officials have been killed in the line of duty nationally since Jan. 1. That's more than were killed in all of 2010.
Of the 2011 deaths, five were federal agents, according to the National Law Enforcement Officers Memorial Fund.
Last month, Deputy U.S. Marshal Derek Hotsinpiller was killed in West Virginia while attempting to serve an arrest warrant to suspected drug dealer.