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
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
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,"
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
Sources: St. Louis Post-Dispatch
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