Police: Officer fatally shoots armed man in town near Ferguson, Missouri
(CNN) — [Breaking news update posted at 8:20 a.m. ET]
An 18-year-old male held a gun “straight out” at a Berkeley, Missouri, police officer before that officer fired “what we think … were three shots,” St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said Thursday. The man — who died after being shot by the officer — is not believed to have fired any shots himself, according to Belmar.
[Original story posted at 8:13 a.m. ET]
A police officer fatally shot an armed teenager Tuesday night just two miles from Ferguson, Missouri, authorities say — sparking hours of tense overnight demonstrations in an area still raw with emotion over a controversial killing four months ago.
The incident started around 11:15 p.m. when an officer in the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley approached two people during a routine check at a Mobil gas station, St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman said.
After the officer left his squad car, one of the pair pointed a gun at the officer, who fired multiple times at him, killing him, Schellman said. The second person fled, police said.
The slain man was Antonio Martin, an 18-year-old African-American, his family told CNN.
Police say the officer, whose name wasn’t immediately released, shot in self-defense.
As news of the shooting spread, a crowd gathered, some among them yelling at a number of police officers who also had arrived. What looked like a firecracker exploded near a gas pump, video from CNN affiliate KMOV showed. A scuffle broke out, and officers grabbed some of the demonstrators and led them off in handcuffs.
Tuesday’s shooting happened more than four months after the controversial shooting of unarmed black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer, just a couple of miles to the east, triggered nationwide protests.
But Missouri state Sen. Maria Chappelle-Nadal, who has criticized authorities over the Brown shooting, appealed for calm Wednesday morning — saying that if indeed Martin was armed, she felt Tuesday’s shooting could be different.
“While tensions are high, we need to be respectful of what the facts are, and then our actions need to follow those facts,” Chappelle-Nadal told CNN’s “New Day.”
“While we’re waiting for the facts, we need to have some calm so we know that’s going on. Not every case is the same,” she said.
After the shooting, yellow markers were placed around the scene at the gas station. Next to one of them was a handgun lying in the parking lot, video from KMOV showed.
Schellman said that the killed man’s handgun was recovered at the scene.
Feet away from the weapon, a body lay covered up. It was later placed on a stretcher and loaded into the back of a van.
The gas station appeared to be outfitted with surveillance cameras, which were pointed at the parking lot.
Berkeley police asked St. Louis County police to handle the investigation of the shooting.
County police are planning to hold a news conference on Wednesday and are considering releasing some surveillance video from the scene.
Martin’s mother, Toni Martin, told KMOV that her son had gone to see his girlfriend, who lived near the station, and was with her at the time of the shooting. She said the girlfriend notified her of her son’s shooting.
Martin said her son turned 18 in September. He had been expelled from school but was trying to get his life back together, she said, and she was encouraging him to join Job Corps.
Video posted to Vimeo showed Toni Martin crying in the arms of other people.
The deceased teen’s father, Jerome Green, also said Antonio Martin had said he was going out to meet his girlfriend and had not mentioned any other person who might be with them.
“He was supposed to come home,” Green said. “We’re getting ready for holiday; everyone wanted to see him. My grandmother hadn’t seen him for a while.”
Green said that Martin lived with his parents, together with a brother and a sister.
Protesters gathered around an ethnically diverse group of dozens of police officers, who stood between them and the scene. People in the crowd screamed at police. Others spoke more calmly.
St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson told CNN’s Hala Gorani that some of the protesters damaged police cars. CNN showed images of one squad car with a large dent in its side.
Police and demonstrators briefly scuffled.
“At one point, an explosive device, like a large firecracker or firework, was thrown into the middle of the fight and exploded. That kind of scattered a lot of people,” Carson said.