Two months after Michael Brown was fatally shot by cop Darren Wilson, triggering violent protests in Ferguson, the St. Louis area is confronted with yet another controversial police shooting.
An off-duty police officer in St. Louis killed a black teen, identified as 18-year-old Vonderrick Myers, after chasing him through the neighborhood of Shaw Boulevard, about 11 miles south of Ferguson.
The tragic incident has brought back the bitter memories of Brown’s death – as well as “Hands Up Don’t Shoot” protests by the local African-American community. However, police have revealed one major difference between the two cases.
While Brown was unarmed when he was shot, Myers wasn’t, according to St. Louis’ law enforcement officials. In fact, the teen was armed and shot at the officer, who returned fire. A 9mm Ruger was also recovered from the scene, police say.
The officer was not injured. A gun was recovered from the scene. The investigation is ongoing.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) October 9, 2014
Since there is no video evidence available, as yet, there is a lot of speculation surrounding this week’s shooting.
The 32-year-old officer, who was patrolling the neighborhood for a private security company, his second job, fired 17 shots at the teenager, confirmed St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson.
"An investigation will decide if the officer's behavior was appropriate," he told reporters at police headquarters.
However, Teyonna Myers, a 23-year-old woman who told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper that she was Myer’s relative, claims the suspect was unarmed when he was shot.
"He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It's like Michael Brown all over again," she told the paper.
Suspect's aunt cries: "they shot my Drew 16 times. All he had was a sandwich" ; fatal police shooting Klemm&Shaw So StL @FOX2now— Andy Banker (@andybankertv) October 9, 2014
Outraged citizens marched toward Missouri Botanical Garden shortly after news of Myers' death began to spread, reports CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV. The protesters argued even if the teen was armed and opened fire, he shouldn’t have been shot 17 times.
Shooting someone 16 times because you "think" they are armed is not justice. It's a sad night for St. Louis. Can't trust police anymore.— Mat Kerekes (@MatKerekes) October 9, 2014
Shooting someone 16 times is not policing, it's mutilation. #shawshooting— Imran Garda (@ImranGarda) October 9, 2014
According to Dotson, some members of the crowd damaged police cars and shouted obscenities, but the officers "showed great restraint."
"Any police officer use of force certainly will draw attention," Dotson added.
Here are some images from the protest:
Scenes from tonight... pic.twitter.com/X6rtl7FLeB— Antonio French (@AntonioFrench) October 9, 2014