As he was formally sworn in on May 30, St. Louis Circuit Attorney Gabriel Gore vowed to tackle the “violent crime crisis” in St. Louis while rebuilding trust in his office.
In a ceremony in a courtroom at the Carnahan Courthouse, Gore took the oath of office from Missouri Supreme Court Judge Robin Ransom. Gore had begun working with the office after Gov. Mike Parson appointed him on May 19 following the abrupt resignation of former Circuit Attorney Kim Gardner.
Gore said his priorities are to address a backlog of criminal cases and to stabilize and restaff the office. He thanked the governor for giving him the opportunity to “restore the public trust and confidence in the circuit attorney’s office.”
“It is a responsibility that I accept knowing that failure is not an option,” he said.
Gore, a partner at Dowd Bennett, served as an assistant U.S. Attorney for the Eastern District of Missouri. Among other cases, he took part in the 1999 investigation of the 1993 raid of the Branch Davidian compound in Waco, Texas.
Prior to joining Dowd Bennett, Gore was a partner at Bryan Cave and an associate at Williams & Connolly. He earned his law degree from the University of Chicago in 1994.
Former Gov. Jay Nixon — who is now a partner at Gore’s firm — named him to the Missouri State University Board of Governors and to the Ferguson Commission, which made recommendations following the unrest triggered by the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in 2014.
Gardner was elected in 2016 as the first Black circuit attorney in the city’s history and was re-elected in 2020. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey had sought to oust her from office for allegedly engaging in “willful neglect of her official duty” by failing or refusing to prosecute criminal cases. A trial had been set for September.
State lawmakers considered a bill this year that would have allowed the governor to effectively take over Gardner’s office by appointing a special prosecutor in jurisdictions where the homicide rate exceeds a certain threshold. Gardner had cited that then-pending legislation as the reason for her resignation. Initially she planned to leave office on June 1, but then stepped down immediately on May 16.