White St. Louis Cop Fatally Shoots Black Teen
Racial tensions boiled in the St. Louis area after a white off-duty police officer fired 17 shots at an African-American teen that reportedly fired on him first.
Protesters took to the streets of south St. Louis after the shooting re-ignited tensions still brewing after the shooting of Michael Brown in August.
Police say the unidentified officer was working for a private security company at the time and encountered three men he thought were “acting suspiciously.”
The three men fled when they saw the cop.
“One of them ran in a way that the officer believed that he was armed with a gun – holding his waist band, not running full stride,” Police Chief Sam Dotson told The Washington Post.
The officer drove after them and then chased them on foot. Police say one of the men turned and approached the officer “in an aggressive manner” and got into a physical altercation before running up a hill.
As the 18-year-old ran up the hill, police say he fired on the officer three times and the officer returned fire.
“The suspect continued to pull the trigger on the gun,” Dotson said. “We learned that the gun had malfunctioned and it was jammed.”
The victim was identified by family as Vonderrit Myers Jr., who police say was “no stranger to law enforcement.”
Myers was scheduled for trial in November for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest charges.
The officer has been placed on administrative leave as is policy in any officer-involved shooting.
The victim’s family says Myers didn’t have a gun, he had a sandwich.
“He was unarmed,” Myers’ cousin, Teyonna Myers, told the St. Louis Dispatch. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun.”
Police say they recovered a 9mm Ruger at the scene which they say was used by Myers.
Protests did not turn violent but demonstrators were certainly upset.
“I watched (St. Louis) police officers handling themselves admirably in the face of some serious yelling, screaming, kicking of their cars last night,” said St. Louis Alderman Stephen Conway.