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Off-Duty St. Louis Policeman Shoots Teen 17 Times, Sparks Protests

By aaroncynic in News on Oct 9, 2014 2:30PM

Protests erupted in St. Louis Wednesday night after an off-duty officer shot and killed an 18-year-old man. According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, the officer was working a security side job (but wearing his police uniform) when he fired 17 shots at the man after a short chase and alleged struggle. The area, known as the Shaw neighborhood, is about 14 miles away from Ferguson, the site of the Michael Brown shooting.

St. Louis Police spokesperson Schron Jackson said the unidentified officer attempted something referred to as a “pedestrian check,” and gave chase after the suspect fled on foot. Jackson said that during the chase, the young man turned and fired a gun at the officer, who then returned fire 17 times. It’s unclear how many bullets struck the man. The officer was uninjured.

Relatives of the man, identified by relatives as Vonderrit Myers Jr., say that he was unarmed.

“He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun, said Teyonna Myers, a 23-year-old from Florissant, who said she was Myers' cousin. “It’s like Michael Brown all over again.” Jackie Williams, a 47-year-old man who lives nearby the site of the shooting and said he was Myers' uncle, said:

“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him. I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”

Police denied Myers was shocked with a Taser and say they recovered a 9mm Ruger from the scene.

As word spread, hundreds of demonstrators gathered at the scene of the shooting and took to the streets. Chanting “black lives matter” and “hands up, don’t shoot,” protesters marched and blocked several intersections throughout the night. Accounts from journalists on social media show several tense looking standoffs between police and demonstrators, but it appears police kept the riot gear at a distance. Though there were reports of some demonstrators allegedly damaging police vehicles, the AP reports St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson said no demonstrators had been arrested.