Tuesday, August 12, 2014
18-year-old Michael Brown was shot dead in the street by police officers near St Louis Saturday afternoon
A black teen whose shooting death sparked riots in his St Louis community yesterday was killed after getting into a fight with a cop, police say.
St Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar held a press conference Sunday morning about the incident, and while the victim has not yet been officially named, family identified him as 18-year-old Michael Brown.
Belmar said the victim was shot dead after he and another man got into an altercation with a police officer.
A struggle ensued when one of the men pushed the officer into his patrol car and one shot was fired.
The officer then got out of the vehicle and shot at 'a subject' multiple times.
Belmar wouldn't say how many shots were fired but said there were 'more than just a couple'.
Few details were released about the police officer involved in the incident, other than that he was with the force for six years.
He has since been placed on paid leave pending the investigation.
Brown was killed yesterday while walking to his grandmother's house in the predominately black neighborhood of Ferguson, located a few miles north of downtown St Louis.
His grandmother Desiree Harris says she was driving through her neighborhood that afternoon when she saw her grandson walking a few blocks away from her house.
After she arrived home minutes later, she heard a commotion and ran outside to see Brown's body on the pavement nearby.
Hundreds of angry residents gathered for hours after the incident, shouting and cursing at police, and continued to protest Brown's death on Sunday at the Ferguson police building.
About 200 people marched at the building, with some chanting 'we want answers' and 'no justice, no peace'.
Police have asked the community to remain calm while they carry out the investigation.
'He was a good kid. He didn't live around here, he came to visit me,' Mike Brown's grandmother told KMOV.
'He was spending the summer with me, and they did that to him with no reason.'
'He was running this way,' she said. 'When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn't tell me nothing.'
Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, told an acquaintance the shooting was 'wrong and it was cold-hearted,' the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. According to the newspaper, Brown's stepfather, Louis Head, held a sign that read: 'Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!'
Eyewitnesses say the teenager was unarmed and had his hands in the air when he was shot dead by police.
The teenager had just graduated high school and hoped to begin college in the fall.
A large crowd of angry residents confronted police officers Saturday afternoon, yelling such things as 'kill the police' after the incident.
Officer Brian Schellman, spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department, said 'a couple hundred' people came out of apartment buildings after an officer with the Ferguson Police Department shot and killed the male. Schellman did not identify the person who was shot or say what prompted the shooting.
The St Louis County Police Department has taken over the investigation.
John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP, called on the FBI's assistance was needed 'to protect the integrity of the investigation.'
'With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers ... this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization,' Gaskin said.
Gaskin said officials in the organization spoke with St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar, who told them the male was a teenager and had been shot twice.
A witness Fox2Now that she saw Brown 'running for his life,' before he was shot. He turned around with his hands in the air, she said, but was shot twice more, resulting in his death.
Schellman declined to give any information about the male who was shot, including his age or race, because police were still trying to notify relatives.
After the shooting, some people yelled threats toward the police, and officers said they thought they heard gunshots, Schellman said. There were no reports of additional injuries, he said.
After the crowd gathered, police at the scene called for about 60 other police units to respond to the area in Ferguson, a city of about 21,000 residents located a few miles north of downtown St. Louis.
According to the U.S. Census Bureau from 2012, about two-thirds of the residents are black.
Schellman said the crowd was under control by about 5 p.m. and several of the additional officers had left the area.
Gaskin said the angry crowd was reacting to a 'trauma.'
'Anytime you have this type of event that's taken place, emotions are going to run high,' he said.
'But for 600 people to gather around an area to see where a man is lying in the street, that means something happened that should have not happened.'