Police say the off-duty officer opened fire after the teen shot at him first, but his mother claims he was unarmed.
An off-duty police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old Black teen Wednesday night, sparking more angry protesting in St. Louis.
According to authorities, the officer fired 17 rounds at Vonderrit D. Myers, Jr. after the teen allegedly opened fire during a chase. Myers’ mother disputes this account and tells The Associated Press that her son was unarmed.
“He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun,” the teen’s cousin, Teyonna Myers, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”
During a press conference this morning, St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson III said that the off-duty officer spotted Myers and two men while he was patrolling the Shaw neighborhood for a private security company. The group took off running when he made a U-turn and a chase ensued. Eventually, the officer got into a physical altercation with the victim and shots were fired.
Police have not released the officer's name, but CNN reports he is a 32-year-old white man.
The shooting sparked overnight protests in the neighborhood, which CNN reports is 12 miles south of where Michael Brown was killed by police two months ago. Protestors could be heard shouting “F**k the police” and banging on police cars.
State Sen. Jamilah Nasheed called the officer's initial approach of Myers racial profiling. She and other state officials want the Justice Department to investigate.