Missouri police officer fatally shoots black teenager in St Louis suburb

Missouri police officer fatally shoots black teenager in St Louis suburb (Guardian, Dec 24, 2014):

Incident in suburb of Berkeley takes place near where Michael Brown was killed by an officer in August

An 18-year-old black teenager has been shot dead by police at a gas station in a suburb of St Louis, Missouri.

A crowd of about 100 people gathered early on Wednesday at the scene in Berkeley, close to the town of Ferguson, where 18-year-old Michael Brown was shot and killed by a police officer in August.

A spokesman for St Louis County police department said an officer shot and killed a man who drew a handgun and pointed it at him as the officer approached him and another man.

The police said an investigation had begun into the incident, which occurred at 11.15pm at a Mobil petrol station, when the officer approached two male suspects.

In a statement, St Louis police said: “The Berkeley police officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene … St Louis County police detectives have recovered the deceased subject’s handgun at the scene.”

Authorities did not immediately identify the man who was shot. But the St Louis Post-Dispatch reported that a woman at the scene, Toni Martin, said he was her son, 18-year-old Antonio Martin.

Toni Martin told the newspaper that her son was with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting.

The protesters who gathered early on Wednesday milled around the gas pumps at the station, some shouting at police officers.

Some had strands of yellow police-line tape draped around their neck.

Authorities from multiple agencies, some in riot gear, stood among the protesters. Across the street, another gas station’s glass doors were shattered, and police were standing outside the door, turning people away.

Photos from the scene showed authorities scuffling with at least a few protesters.

The incident comes at a time of mounting tension between the police and the community in the US, after nationwide protests against racism and police brutality.

Brown’s death led to weeks of protests and some looting in the St Louis area, actions that were renewed last month when a grand jury chose not to indict Officer Darren Wilson.

Over the weekend, two New York police officers were shot dead in what was seen as as a reprisal attack after a grand jury voted not to indict an NYPD officer who killed an unarmed black man in an illegal choke hold.

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