Graphic Video: Dramatic video emerges in St. Louis fatal police shooting

ST. LOUIS, Missouri (CNN) — The man paces back and forth on a St. Louis street, yelling “Shoot me,” as two armed police officers approach him.

Less than 20 seconds after their arrival, the officers open fire, killing him.

As new cell phone video emerged Wednesday of the fatal confrontation that claimed the life of the African-American man, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson tried to explain the officers’ action in an appearance on CNN.

Watch the cell phone video above.

The incident took place Tuesday, less than four miles away from the suburb of Ferguson where, just days earlier, a police officer shot and killed Michael Brown, an unarmed black teen — and touched off violent protests.

Dotson said the man was suspected of walking out of a convenience store with two energy drinks and a package of pastries that he didn’t pay for.

Police said the man had a knife that he pulled out, although that is unclear from the video.

“An edge weapon, a knife, within 21 feet is a lethal weapon,” Dotson told CNN. ” The officer just did, what I think you or I would do — they protected their life in that situation.”

‘Drop the knife’

The man, dressed in khaki pants and a blue sweatshirt, is standing on the side of a street when a police car pulls up on the sidewalk near him.

He takes a few steps back as officers get out of the police cruiser and approach him, armed with guns.

They yell at the man, repeatedly ordering him to get his hand out of his pocket.

The man walks towards them, yelling, “Shoot me! Shoot me! Shoot me now.”

The man takes his hand out of his pocket and appears to be holding something in his right hand, but it’s unclear from the video what the object is.

Authorities say the man was brandishing a knife.

One of the officers says, “Drop the knife.” The man walks closer.

Nine shots are heard. The man drops to the ground. Onlookers gasp.

The man filming the incident exclaims, “Oh my God.”

Questions raised

Dotson said the man was 23 and was “acting erratically, walking back and forth up and down the street.”

Asked why the officers didn’t use alternate weapons, such as a stun gun, to subdue the man, Dotson responded by saying such defenses can be unreliable.

“So you’ve got an individual armed with a knife, who’s moving towards you, not listening to any verbal commands, continues, says ‘Shoot me now, kill me now.’ Tasers aren’t 100%. If that Taser misses, that subject continues on, and hurts an officer,” he said.

CNN’s Chris Cuomo said the officers’ actions brings up several questions.

“There was no raising, there was no lunge, there was no charge,” he said. “They open fire, both officers open fire.”

“The question now becomes, ‘Why did they have to do this?’”

The two officers involved have been placed on administrative duty, per department policy.

25 comments

  • Ted

    Last section of the article: So the police are supposed to wait for a “lunge?”

    It is too late then, the officer has been stabbed. The general public and media just don’t get it.

  • Carmen

    Looks like they went by the books to me. They handcuffed him because even if he is dead, they don’t make that call. They told him plenty of times to drop his knife. It doesn’t matter if it wasn’t a gun. The man had a weapon. What people fail to realize is how these officers are trained. Verbal communication was not working. This man continued to be defiant. He was advancing on them. Educate yourself before placing judgment.

    • Matt

      People don’t “fail to realize” how officers are trained, they disagree with what they’re trained to do. Officers easily could’ve tazed him instead of killing him.

      • Vinny

        Tazers just aren’t that reliable though. You have one single chance to get it right. Both probes need to make entry for it to be effective. If just one of those probes hits simply a button or zipper and gets deflected, the tazer is useless.
        You clearly have no idea how dangerous a knife is if you think it isn’t a matter of life and death.

        • Donna

          Hey vinny, ur right, but why didn’t they have their mast in thiers hand when they pulled up, at least the one closest to him should have mast him, and maybe he would still be alive ….

  • Nicolas Shreiner

    Yep, they did their jobs. He walked up on armed Officers with weapons drawn, even if he didn’t have a knife, that’s a no no. Walking up to anyone that has a gun pointed at you for their safety is not a good idea. Pretend these weren’t Police Officers and the outcome would have been the same. Good job, Officers.

  • michelle

    WOW! I’m sorry but you never see white people act all ghetto like these bystanders did. They’re just begging to start crap. Especially the guy filming!! Bunch of punks!!! Could you say OMG one more time!

    • Lamar

      So you’ve been everywhere in America to know how all white and black people act? You made a very idiotic comment, and it’s people like you that keep racism alive.

  • Donna

    oh my goodness, if that was my son they shot and killed, i would hire the best attorney around and go after their buttes… from this video, you can’t tell me those cops couldn’t tell that young man was not quite right in the head, something just wasn’t right, what they should have done is tased him or mase him, they shot him in cold blood….. bad bad bad bad

    • Ted

      Donna,

      It’s mace, not mase.

      I’m going to presume that you’ve never been maced or tazed and you’ve never used either to defend yourself, since you can’t even spell mace correctly.

      I’ve been on the receiving end of both as part of a class for healthcare providers. Armed with a gun or knife, I still was capable of doing damage after each experience.

      • Donna

        Hey Ted, I know how to spell, yes it is spelled mace, however I was typing in the dark and press s instead of c …

    • Jim

      The man was told to put the knife down. You see things on TV how cops are stabbed and shot. The man was told to put the knife down and did not. It was his fault the officers did what was right because people these days can do stupid things.

  • Randy

    So officers should wait until they are severely injured until they respond with deadly force??? As a correctional officer I have to be criticized for every action I do. All the public sees is that we abuse inmates. Nobody understands what we deal with every day yet most people are too scared to go into a jail.

    • Donna

      I think they should have mast him first, killing him wasn’t the best thing to do, also they could have tased him, also Randy, I know that being a correctional officer is a very stressful job, for my brother in law, is one… and all the stories he shared with me, i understand where you are coming from… however if that young man would have just been mast, he would still be alive . AM I NOT RIGHT about this ?

      • Mike

        If he would have listened to the officers with their guns drawn on him, he would still be alive. Don’t blame the police officers for going by the book on this. If you don’t agree with how they are trained and how they use their training (by the book), then blame the training. Blame the rules. Either way, I think you should put on a uniform and stand 5′ from someone unstable coming at you with a weapon. We’ll see if you feel differently then. Studies have been done that show that a suspect as close as 5′ can cause the officer harm even if they shoot the suspect. From 5′ with a knife all they need to do is lunge and the officers life is in jeopardy . Officers are trained to use deadly force in these situations. Reserve your mace and taser for someone without a weapon.

  • Mary Moreno

    STILL THESE OFFICE R TRAINED TO PROTECT THEMSELFS.COME ON TWO OFFICE OPEN FIRE.THERE R GOOD COPS AND COPS THAT THINK JUST CUZ THEY R COPS THAT GIVES THEM THE RIGHT TWO KILL.WONDER IF THEIR KIDS STOLE DRIBKS AND FOOD FROM A STORE WOULD THEY FEEL COPS R RIGHT TO SHOOT AND KILL THEM.KARMA A BITCH.THIS MAN MAY HAVE HAD MENTAL ISSUES.BUT HELL THEY DIDNT TAKE LONG TO KILL HIM.SAD,VERY SAD.

  • Mary Moreno

    Sorry for the mis spelling but am upset.I was ,14 ,,When a cops beat me amd demaned other things.,AM 50 YEARS OLD NOW A DAY DOESNT GO BY THAT I SHE A POLICE OFFICER AND PANIC.THEY WE HAVE SO MANY EXCUSES FOR THESE OFFICERS.WHERE IS THIS MAN VOICE? GONE!

  • Dwight

    The color of his skin has nothing to do with what happened in this video. The man clearly had a death wish and wanted the outcome he got. This is a typical case of suicide. Instead of performing the act themselves they commit a crime to get the officers to respond and threaten the officers until they get the result they want. Tazers will not work on most individuals especially if he is under the influence. What if they did tazer him and he died of a heart attack, attack the officers again for using too much force? Pepper spray against a guy with a knife will get the officer hurt and possibly others. What if the officers used rubber bullets??? Well now you have a guy that is hurt that sues the officers for doing their job. On top of that now this individual is able to post bail and goes and commits a murder/suicide. What about that victim(s)? Wake up folks. Life isn’t fair or easy. These officers made a tough choice that they will have to live with for the rest of their lives.

  • John Shunk

    A lot of the debate about this is based around the fact that the police and the suspect were in very close proximity. Properly trained American police officers would have gotten out of their vehicle more than 10′ away from the suspect. They would have stayed back, and if there were two officers; one, armed with a taser, could have attempted to subdue him, while the other, armed with a gun, could have used lethal force, in the case of the non-lethal defense failing. Even then, in the case of necessary gun use, they should have been trained well enough to shoot the man in the arm or leg.
    People will act like this man no matter how the police act. It’s how those police act that makes the difference between a man with a knife being subdued, possibly injured, and sent to prison; and a man with a knife being shot point blank multiple times with no attempt to use non-lethal force, causing a debate like this, over whose fault it was and what should have happened.
    Think about this: a cowbow with a can of mace, a revolver, and a pair of handcuffs could have stopped a guy like this in the old western days. Police militarization is within the realm of reasonable defense. For example, when there were papers posted frequently in certain cities about people re-enacting the movie, The Purge, the police should have the ability to protect the public in such a situation. Americans can get guns easily. They can modify them into machine guns easily. Seriously, watch enough Youtube videos and you’ll realize the potential firepower of the American public.
    If some people go crazy at a shopping mall with machine guns and hand grenades and start looting and holding hostages; by all means, bring in a damn SWAT team, and do your damn job. If some idiot is walking around with a knife, maybe a pistol, at most, you don’t need some target elimination unit, like these police. You need a couple of properly trained police officers to arrest the suspect, and do their damn job.

  • Troy

    If you don’t like the way police officers are responding to incidents. I say go graduate police academy and do something about it. B&$@&ing about it ain’t going to change it. If someone came towards me with a knife I would shoot that person and I don’t care who that person is especially if you give plenty of notice.

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