http://www.stltoday.com/stltoday/ne...3D6C1BF7256D20148625710000237F40?OpenDocument Purse goes bang, blows its secret By Heather Ratcliffe ST. LOUIS POST-DISPATCH 01/23/2006 Black sequins rained down in the Dairy Queen after the explosion. Some thought a car had backfired in the parking lot. But that wouldn't explain the sequins, or the smoke, or the smell of gunpowder in the south St. Louis County restaurant. Then everyone's attention turned to a woman in line - the one with a shredded sequined purse on the tile floor near her feet. "She picked up her purse like it was some kind of disease," explained Shelley White, the store manager on duty. "I ain't got no gun," was the only thing the stranger told the crowd in the restaurant before gathering her purse and teenage daughter from a nearby booth and running out of the place about 1 p.m. Friday. But she did have a gun, investigators said, apparently a low-quality one that discharged by accident when she dropped her purse. She had a secret too, one that she might have kept had White not rushed to the window and called out the license number for a customer to jot down. The fleeing woman was an off-duty St. Louis police officer. The bullet blew a hole in a window and came to a safe landing in front of a doorway. A fragment struck a van outside. But no one was injured. "I don't know how that bullet didn't kill anyone," said White, whose family owns the franchise. "I looked at the people outside, and they were just standing there with their mouths hanging open." St. Louis County police tracked down the city officer, who they said first denied even being at the restaurant, in the 4300 block of Telegraph Road. Then she told police that she had fled because she thought she was under fire. Finally she confessed to the accident, police said. The officer, whose name was not released pending consideration of charges against her, eventually told police that she had thrown the weapon out her car window along Interstate 255 because she was afraid she was going to be in trouble. County officers spent hours scouring the area along the westbound lanes in the dark and rain Friday, looking for the weapon; they never found it. The woman resigned from the force Friday after the St. Louis police internal affairs unit opened an investigation. She had been on the department for three years. Said White, "I just can't believe she's a police officer."