Surveillance video showing an officer-involved shooting during a routine business check at a gas station in Berkeley, Missouri December 23, 2014 released by the St. Louis County Police Department December 24, 2014.
Credit: Reuters/St. Louis County Police/Handout via Reuters
(Reuters) – A U.S. police officer shot and killed a black man after he pointed a loaded pistol at him in a St. Louis suburb near where an unarmed black teen was killed by a white officer in August, police said on Wednesday.
The shooting took place late on Tuesday at a Mobil On The Run gasoline station in Berkeley, Missouri, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar told a news conference.
He called the shooting a tragedy both for the young man’s family and for the officer.
“There are no winners here. There are nothing but losers,” Belmar said.
A crowd of 200 to 300 people gathered at the station after the shooting, and bricks and three fireworks were thrown, two of them at the roughly 50 officers at the scene, he said.
Two officers were injured. Four people were arrested and charged with assault, said Belmar. Police released security camera video of the incident.
The shooting occurred after the officer, a six-year veteran of the Berkeley Police Department who was responding to a report of a larceny, got out of his car to talk to two men at the gas station.
One of them pointed a loaded 9mm handgun at the officer across the hood of the police car, Belmar said.
Pulling his own weapon, the officer stepped backward, stumbled, and fired three shots. One of them struck the man with the gun, a second hit a police car tire, and the third cannot be accounted for, he said.
Paramedics declared the man dead at the scene.
SECOND MAN SOUGHT
Authorities did not identify the dead man, but the St. Louis Post-Dispatch named him as Antonio Martin, 18. The newspaper quoted his mother as saying he was with his girlfriend around the time of the shooting.
Belmar did not name the officer, who has been put on administrative leave. Police are seeking the second man involved in the incident.
The officer had been given a body camera but was not wearing it at the time of the shooting. His car’s dashboard camera also was not activated when the incident took place, Belmar said.
A St. Louis County prosecutor has been assigned to the case and police have questioned two witnesses, he said.
Berkeley neighbors the suburb of Ferguson, where police officer Darren Wilson shot Michael Brown on Aug. 9, a killing that fueled criticism of the way police and the criminal justice system treat minority groups.
Protests in Ferguson have taken place for months and spilled over into violence when a grand jury decided not to charge Wilson a month ago.
Demonstrations in cities across the country gained in momentum when a New York grand jury decided not to charge police over the death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man whom police tackled and put in a choke hold.
Before the incident in Berkeley, about 200 people marched in New York on Tuesday, defying Mayor Bill de Blasio’s call for protests to be suspended after two police officers were killed in their patrol car in Brooklyn on Saturday in an apparent revenge attack.
In Los Angeles, police said they would investigate whether any officers were involved in the singing of a song, at a party organized by a retired policeman, that poked fun at the Ferguson killing.
The lyrics of the song, on a video posted on entertainment news website TMZ, said: “Michael Brown learned a lesson about a messin’ with a badass policeman.”
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