After a police officer who was “fearing for his life” shot and killed an 18-year-old who was brandishing a pistol at him on Tuesday evening, protesters reportedly brought bags of rocks, smashed police cars, hurled explosives and bricks at and assaulted police officers on the scene.
According to a St. Louis Post-Dispatch report, “between 200 and 300 protesters gathered at the scene after the shooting, and conflicts broke out between officers and protesters” in Berkeley, Missouri, which is two miles from Ferguson. Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins (D) said on Wednesday morning that the police officer probably saved his own live by shooting the armed 18-year-old. The incident occurred while officers were responding to a shoplifting report.
According to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, “four people were arrested for assaulting officers, and at least one officer was injured when he tried to get away from some sort of firework device set off on the parking lot.” According to the New York Daily News, one “police officer was taken to the hospital with leg wounds after he was injured while trying to flee from the explosion” while “a second officer was hit in the face with a brick.” In addition, “several police cars were damaged.” A fire was reportedly started at a QuikTrip across the street from the scene before being put out.
Belmar said the 18-year-old black male “produced a pistol with his arm straight out, pointing it straight at the officer kind of from across the hood” while reportedly approaching the driver’s side of the police car. That is when the officer “who is 34 and white” and a 6-year veteran of the department department “fired what we think is three shots,” Belmar reportedly said.
Belmar said the suspect’s “defaced” 9 mm gun “had five rounds in the chamber and one round in the magazine.” The suspect, reportedly identified by his mother at the scene, “was known to police for various charges including weapons and stealing.”
According to the Post-Dispatch, Belmar “said he notified St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch of the shooting, and McCulloch assigned a prosecutor to the case.”