Violent protests after St. Louis County police officer kills man who pulled gun, authorities say

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Violent protests broke out Tuesday night after a suburban St. Louis police officer shot and killed a man who pointed a gun at him at a gas station, police said.

Scuffles broke out early Wednesday between police officers and a vocal crowd of several hundred people who taunted the officers at the scene. One officer was injured after he was stuck with a brick and police reported several small explosives being used by protesters. There were four arrests.

Berkeley is just a few miles from Ferguson, where a white police officer fatally shot black 18-year-old Michael Brown in August. The suspect on Wednesday was also 18.

Theodore Hoskins, the mayor of Berkeley, said the surveillance video appears to show that the teen did raise the gun at the police officer. Hoskins, however, said it was a preliminary evaluation and called on a full investigation.

“You couldn’t even compare this with Ferguson or the [Eric] Garner case in New York,” Hoskins, who is African American, said.

Authorities have not released any information about the identity or ethnicity of the man killed but The St. Louis Dispatch reported that the victim’s name as Antonio Martin. obtained surveillance video from the scene.

The nearly two-minute video clip shows two young men leaving the store at about the time a police car rolls up. The officer gets out and speaks with them. About a minute-and-a-half later, the video appears to show one of the men raising his arm, though what he is holding is difficult to see because they were several feet from the camera. Belmar said it was a 9mm handgun.

The other man ran away, and police are searching for him.

The 34-year-old white police officer, a six-year veteran of the Berkeley Police Department, is on administrative leave pending an investigation, Jon Belmar, the county police chief, said.

“He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career. So there are no winners here.”

Toni Martin, who identified the suspect as her son, told the newspaper that he was with his girlfriend at the time of the shooting.

The protesters who gathered early Wednesday milled around the gas pumps at the station, some yelling at police officers. Some wore strands of yellow police-line tape draped around their neck, with others using it as a headband. Authorities from multiple agencies, some in riot gear, stood among the protesters.

Across the street, the glass doors of a convenience store were shattered, one of the doors left hanging from a single hinge. Police stood guard, turning people away.

The crowd dispersed but police officers remained at the scene as dawn approached.

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