Police in Missouri Shoot, Kill Armed Suspect Near Ferguson
Police in St. Louis are investigating an officer-involved shooting in the city’s sixth district Tuesday, just a few miles east of where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a St. Louis County officer in the suburb of Ferguson, Missouri.
According to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, officers were responding to a store where a 23-year-old African American man reportedly stole energy drinks and pastries before throwing the items onto the street and frightening employees.
"The store owner and the alderwoman said the suspect was armed with a knife, acting erratically, pacing back and forth in the street, talking to himself," Dotson said at the scene.
Officers arrived shortly before 2:30 p.m. and, according to witnesses and police, ordered the man to get down. The man then reportedly began walking toward the officers and brandished a knife. Witnesses say the man was yelling “Shoot me, kill me now” during the encounter.
As news of the shooting spread, a crowd gathered and a impromptu press conference was called. The gathering was initially peaceful, but grew tense as people in the crowd began chanting “Hands up, don’t shoot”, a mantra commonly heard at the Ferguson protests.
Some are questioning the lethal force used by police in this instance, but Dotson maintains that officers took reasonable action to defend themselves. A city spokesperson said the city is prepared to handle any protests that arise after this latest incident.
This shooting comes after another night of clashes between protestors and police in Ferguson, where Michael Brown was fatally shot by an officer on August 9. The officer who shot him, St. Louis County Police Officer Darren Wilson, remains on paid administrative leave pending an investigation. A grand jury could begin hearing evidence Wednesday in order to determine if Wilson should be charged in Brown’s death.