Crowds gather after St. Louis police fatally shoot young black man

Written By kolimtiga on Kamis, 09 Oktober 2014 | 12.56

A young black man was shot to death by an off-duty white police officer in St. Louis on Wednesday night, and a tense crowd gathered at the scene nearly two months to the day after a white policeman shot an unarmed black man to death in the nearby suburb of Ferguson.

This time, police say, the man was armed and shot at the officer, who returned fire. But a woman who identified herself as the dead man's cousin said he was holding a sandwich, not a weapon. 

The shooting happened about 7:30 p.m. in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard in south St. Louis when the officer attempted a "pedestrian check," St. Louis police spokeswoman Schron Jackson said in an email. Police did not elaborate on what a pedestrian check is or why it is done. 

Jackson said the officer was working a department-approved security job and wearing his uniform when he confronted the pedestrian. 

"The male suspect fled on foot," Jackson said. "The officer pursued the suspect. The suspect turned and fired a gun at the officer. Fearing for his safety, the officer returned fire, striking the suspect, fatally wounding him. The officer was not injured."

She said a gun had been recovered from the scene. 

The dead man was African American, 18 to 20 years old, Jackson said. The officer, who is 32 and white, has been placed on administrative leave. He has been on the force six years, Jackson said, adding, "The investigation is ongoing."  

Dozens of people came to the scene, which is near the Missouri Botanical Garden. Some said they were relatives and identified the dead man as Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.  Some of them spelled his name as Vonderrick. 

A young woman who said she was a cousin told the Post-Dispatch that he was holding a sandwich.  

"He was unarmed," said Teyonna Meyers, 23, of Florissant, Mo. "He had a sandwich in his hand and they thought it was a gun.  It's like Michael Brown all over again."

Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who took to social media to document the unrest that followed the fatal shooting of Brown, 18, on Aug. 9 in the predominantly black suburb of Ferguson, wrote on Twitter:

"At the scene of yet another young man's death. This happens too often in our city. It's a crisis that we should all be concerned about."

French continued: "The victim's mother was here. She fainted. An ambulance came to attend to her. There is nothing like a mother's pain at the loss of a child."

Brown was killed after a confrontation with Ferguson Police Officer Darren Wilson. A St. Louis County grand jury is hearing evidence and considering charges against Wilson. 

"In case we needed another reminder, this is not about the City of Ferguson," French tweeted. "This is about all of St. Louis -- and beyond."

Follow @theryanparker for breaking news


Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times

10:32 p.m.: This post has been updated with information about people who say they are relatives of the dead man identifying him. One of them says he was holding a sandwich, not a gun.

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