Video shows officer shooting armed man near Ferguson – USA TODAY

Surveillance video shows the moments before a police officer in Berkeley, Missouri, shot and killed an armed teenager. VPC

BERKELEY, Mo. — Authorities released a surveillance video Wednesday showing a confrontation that ended the night before with a white police officer killing an armed black man in this St. Louis suburb.

The shooting happened about 5 miles northwest of Ferguson, where a white police officer fatally shot unarmed Michael Brown in August, sparking months of civil unrest.

At about 11:15 p.m. CT Tuesday while conducting a routine business check, a police officer saw two males at the side of a gas station, Sgt. Brian Schellman, a St. Louis County police spokesman, said in a statement.

The officer, whose name has not been released, approached them. Then one of the men pulled out a handgun and pointed it at the officer, Schellman said.

“Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him,” Schellman said. “The second subject fled the scene.”

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The 18-year-old suspect was armed with a pistol, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said. The police department in Berkeley, a city of about 9,000 where more than eight in 10 residents are black, asked the St. Louis County Police Department to handle the investigation.

Although authorities have not identified the suspect publicly, his mother, Toni Martin, identified him to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as Antonio Martin, 18. She told KSDK-TV that her son did not have a gun and had only just left their home to go see his girlfriend.

The hashtag #AntonioMartin has been trending on social media.

Hundreds gathered at the scene of an officer-involved shooting in Berkeley, Missouri that left an armed 18-year-old dead. Police say officers at the scene were injured when explosives were set off near gas pumps and bricks were thrown. VPC

Video Transcript

Automatically Generated Transcript (may not be 100% accurate)
00:02 Jewel of produced a pistol. With his arms straight out
00:06 point the officer from kind of crossed with whom they please
00:09 car. At that point the officers. Produced is. Service weapon. And
00:16 fired what we think at this point is three shots. But
00:21 we feel like that. One shot struck the suspect. One shot
00:25 struck the tire please call or we can’t account for the
00:28 third round and I do think it. It appears that three
00:32 rounds were fired from the officer’s weapon. That it turned their
00:36 turn out to be more than three that were shot this
00:38 we think it’s time. We do not believe that there was
00:42 any shots fired from the suspect. A suspect is armed with
00:45 national high point. A serial number. Five rounds in the chamber
00:51 one round is. But we had about two to 300 people
00:56 a crowd of about two to 300 people gathered at Kia.
01:01 6800 block of handily did this case unfortunately. We have so
01:05 we’ll bricks are on officers. And we have three explosive devices
01:10 that were used. Two explosive devices were used on the parking
01:14 lot of them all on the run its disturbing it happens
01:18 directly next to guest Paul. So you know he really don’t
01:22 know that force officer was injured. Trying to get away from
01:25 that explosive pieces in the emergency room right now local hospital
01:29 I think he’s dealing with some lower leg injuries from trying
01:31 to get away from that. There was another on the parking
01:34 lot of them all on Iran and a third cutie across
01:38 the street. But things started a small fires that we were
01:41 able to or somebody was able to extinguish at some point.
01:44 So that’s pretty disturbing. We just an an officer who was
01:48 injured with the correct he’s been released from the emergency room
01:52 with facial abrasions. There were. Four arrests made by the Berkeley
01:57 police department. Those arrests were for assaults against police officers that
02:01 I understand Simon and I and the emotions and I extend
02:05 these young people are are are looking for something. But I
02:08 think we need to understand the context. What happens down there
02:11 where these kind of situations but he. Who are. Well. Think
02:19 we’re looking at results and armed robbery. Armed criminal action on
02:24 offer useful weapon. I’m against them some others dealing charges so
02:29 I mean. Yeah he was known to law enforcement I know
02:31 it was arrests were made Berkeley and other risk there were
02:34 making enough sales county.

In the nearly 2-minute surveillance video from the parking lot outside the gas station and convenience store, two young men are leaving the store at about the time a police car rolls up.

The officer gets out and speaks with them. About 90 seconds later, the video appears to show one of the men raising his arm, though what he is holding is difficult to see because they were several feet from the camera. Belmar said it was a 9mm handgun.

Then the video shows the officer, a six-year veteran of Berkeley’s police department, rapidly moving backward. The officer fired three shots.

One shot struck the suspect, another struck the tire of the officer’s patrol car and it is unknown where the third shot hit, Belmar said. Police do not believe that the suspect fired any shots.

“He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career,” Belmar said of the officer. “So there are no winners here.”

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Mayor Theodore Hoskins of Berkeley said comparisons to the Michael Brown case are unfair: Video of this incident is available, the suspect pointed a gun at the white officer, and the majority of the officers on his police force are black.

The 18-year-old who died had a criminal record, including arrests for armed robbery, armed criminal action and unlawful use of a weapon. Belmar said many officers in the local police departments knew him.

“We had somebody pointing a gun at a police officer,” Belmar said. “There’s not a lot of time” to think about using pepper spray or a stun gun.

Another man with the suspect fled and is considered a person of interest in the case. Belmar said at least three people witnessed the shooting.

Afterward, a crowd of 200 to 300 people gathered at the Mobil gas station and some people had explosive devices, possibly fireworks, Belmar said.

Protests were renewed last month when a grand jury declined to indict Darren Wilson, a white police officer, in the shooting of Brown, who was black and unarmed.

Tuesday night’s death was the third fatal shooting of a black suspect by a white police officer in the St. Louis area since Brown was killed. Kajaime Powell, 25, was killed Aug. 9 after approaching St. Louis officers with a knife. Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18, was fatally shot Oct. 8 after allegedly shooting at a St. Louis officer.

The body of the young man remained on the scene for about two hours, Belmar said. After Brown died in August, his body remained on the street for more than four hours, an action that drew widespread criticism.

Belmar said two hours is fairly typical as police gather evidence, and interference from protesters may have prolonged the situation in Berkeley.

“Call it what it is: A police officer has killed another black man and this has got to stop,” said Jason Keith Coleman, a black Baptist minister and activist, who interrupted the Berkeley mayor’s press conference.

“Everybody don’t die the same,” Hoskins countered. “Some people die because they initiate it, and at this point, our review suggests police did not initiate it.”

This woman says she’s the victim’s mother. She said he had just left the house to see his girlfriend. #KSDK#berkeleypic.twitter.com/kU037H4XLg

— John Henry (@JohnHenryKSDK) December 24, 2014

Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon offered a careful early response.

“The events in Berkeley are a reminder that law enforcement officers have a difficult, and often dangerous, job in protecting themselves and law-abiding citizens,” Nixon said in a statement.

Nixon, a Democrat, faced criticism during the Ferguson crisis, particularly from activists and the African-American community, for failing to name an independent prosecutor to consider whether former Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson should face criminal charges for the shooting death of Brown.

He later faced criticism for not immediately more robust National Guard presence to the Ferguson area immediately after St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch announced last month that a grand jury declined to indict Wilson. More than a dozen business were set ablaze and many more were looted in the hours following McCulloch’s announcement.

During the protests early Wednesday, at least two officers were injured and treated at area hospitals, the county police chief said. One officer was injured trying to escape the explosives and another suffered facial abrasions after he was hit with a brick.

Several police cars were damaged, and a man in a hoodie set a convenience store across the street on fire. The flames were extinguished quickly, but a glass door was shattered. Four people were arrested.

“I understand police officers have a job and have an obligation to go home to their families at the end of the night,” said Orlando Brown, 36, of nearby St. Charles, who was among the protesters. “But do you have to treat every situation with lethal force? … It’s not a racial issue, or black or white. It’s wrong or right.”

Orlando Brown said he was pepper-sprayed during the protest as police tried to separate him from a friend whose hand he was holding. He said his friend was arrested for failing to disperse.

The officer who shot the suspect was assigned a body cam at roll call at the start of his shift, but it was handed to him later in his shift, Belmar said. He didn’t immediately put it on and was not wearing it at the time of the shooting.

The police vehicle was equipped with a dashboard camera, but authorities are unsure whether it was activated. Those cameras typically are activated if the officer’s lights atop the vehicle are switched on.

Detectives said they recovered the suspect’s handgun at the scene. The weapon’s serial number was unreadable; Belmar suspects the serial number was intentionally removed.

The officer has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.

Contributing: John Henry, KSDK-TV, St. Louis; Aamer Madhani, USA TODAY; The Associated Press

The crowd has died down here at the Berkeley Mobil, but still some people around. #Berkeleypic.twitter.com/R8CIboAkhG

— John Henry (@JohnHenryKSDK) December 24, 2014

Here’s the Hazelwood PD car that had been smashed up earlier in the night in #Berkeley. Window is broken out. pic.twitter.com/cGjWfV1560

— John Henry (@JohnHenryKSDK) December 24, 2014

A memorial has been set up here at the #Berkeley Mobil. All protesters are gone. A few police remain. @ksdknewspic.twitter.com/HtiJZrSJBv

— John Henry (@JohnHenryKSDK) December 24, 2014

Police in the St. Louis area have killed four black men since August. Only Michael Brown was unarmed.

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