Another Black Teen Has Been Killed by Police in the St. Louis Area

Source: Twitter

Police shot and killed a teenager in St. Louis Wednesday night, just 12 miles from where Michael Brown was fatally shot in Ferguson in early August.

Police say 18-year-old Vonderrick Myers and two other people fled when an off-duty officer, in uniform but working for a private security firm, approached them. The officer gave chase, but what happened next is hotly debated. Police say Myers pulled out a gun and fired at the officer. Witnesses say it was only a sandwich.

The officer fired 17 shots, killing Myers. Protests erupted in response, with people marching near the scene and chanting at police officers.

Differing stories: Witnesses told media outlets that Myers was unarmed when he was shot.

"He was unarmed," Teyonna Myers, Vonderrick's cousin, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. "He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It's like Michael Brown all over again."

Lavell Boyd, who lives nearby, told the Post-Dispatch he heard gunshots on his way to a nearby store. "When I pulled up I saw the cop standing over him (Myers) then he pointed the gun at everyone else telling everyone to get back while he was searching for another clip," Boyd said, adding that he heard someone tell the officer, "You killed my friend."

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Myers had a gun and fired three rounds at the officer before the weapon jammed. "The ballistic evidence indicates at least three different rounds" were fired at the officer, Dotson said, per BuzzFeed, adding that police found a 9mm Ruger believed to belong to Myers.

Here's the police statement originally sent to BuzzFeed:

An officer working department-approved secondary for a security company, wearing a St. Louis Police Officer's uniform was in the 4100 block of Shaw when he attempted a pedestrian check. The male suspect fled on foot. The officer pursued the suspect. The suspect turned and fired a gun at the officer. Fearing for his safety, the officer returned fire striking the suspect, fatally wounding him. The officer was not injured. A gun was recovered from the scene. The officer is a 32-year old white male. He has been on the force for 6 years. The suspect is a black male believed to be 18-20 years old. As is department policy, the officer has been placed on administrative leave. The investigation is ongoing.

The protests: Local community members and others took to the streets following the shooting, including some people who may have driven over from the Ferguson protests.

Unlike in the Ferguson aftermath, protests seemed to go relatively unchallenged, and there have so far been no reports of protesters being arrested.

h/t New York Magazine

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Matt Connolly

Matt has written for Mother Jones, the Washington Examiner and Chicago Public Radio among many others. He's a resident of Washington, D.C., but much like Bruce Springsteen and pork roll he is a product of New Jersey.

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