HR Strange But True!
September 03, 2004

When police in west St. Louis arrived at an office building recently, they were prepared for a shoot-out. After all, a receptionist in one of the offices had reported seeing a man with a handgun walking the hallway. So had others who worked in the three-story building; in fact, there had been reports of two gunmen.

Now, as about half a dozen female office workers hid in cars, in closets, and under desks, police began searching.

Then Melinda Hagaman, who worked in the building; stepped forward and told the officers not to worry.

"I knew it had to be the lawyers from down the hall," she told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch in an interview afterward. "They had done this before."

Police said they learned that their "gunmen" were attorneys Gary K. Burger and Mark Cantor, and that they had been fighting each other with BB guns which resembled regular guns. Cantor couldn't be found at the time, but Burger gave himself up after Hagaman located him in a hallway of the building and told him that police wanted to have a word with him. He was booked on suspicion of flourishing a dangerous and deadly weapon, which is a felony in Missouri. Police said they intended to present prosecutors with cases against both men.

Hagaman told the Post-Dispatch that she knew it was Burger and Cantor who were causing the panic because she had gotten caught in a crossfire during an earlier gunfight. "I was outside on a break and I got shot in the finger and shoulder," she said.

According to the newspaper, Burger specializes in, among other things, workers' compensation cases. He's also the son of a circuit court judge and the husband of a city counselor. He also sits on the Missouri Bar Association disciplinary committee-the panel that investigates reports of lawyers behaving badly.

Afterward, Burger said in a brief telephone interview with Post-Dispatch columnist Bill McClellan: "It was horseplay. It was immature. I've tried to apologize to everybody." McClellan wrote that Burger called back later to add: "I'm an idiot."

Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch news article and column

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