St. Louis Metropolitan Police shot and killed a man about 4 miles from the suburb of Ferguson, where people have been rallying since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9.
The knife-wielding 23-year-old was “acting erratically,” Police Chief Sam Dotson said in a news conference. He said two officers drew their weapons and “gave verbal commands,” and that the man approached police “in a threatening manner with a knife in an overhand posture.”
Stephanie Lecci of St. Louis Public Radio says this appears to be an “isolated incident,” not connected to the protests in neighboring Ferguson.
Here’s a summary of the events, according to Dotson (and reported by Lecci on All Things Considered):
— Two calls were made: one by a convenience store owner who said a man had stolen items from his store and was then pacing up and down the street with a knife; another by a St. Louis alderwoman who described a man talking to himself, walking in the street, armed.
— Two officers responded to the calls, initially approaching the suspect without drawing their weapons.
— Then the suspect grabbed a knife from his waistband and told the officers, “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” The officers gave verbal warnings and drew their weapons when they saw the knife.
— The man did not comply with orders to drop the weapon and move back. When he came within 3 to 4 feet of one of the officers, both officers fired and killed the suspect.
Dotson defended the officers’ actions, saying they have a right to defend themselves and that 3 to 4 feet is within lethal range.
Lecci says witnesses are still being interviewed by police.
NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis says a crowd had gathered in the area “within an hour of the shooting … chanting ‘Hands up! Don’t shoot!’ ” It also reports:
“Alderman Antonio French told NewsChannel 5 he has talked to the community gathering at the scene and reminded them this isn’t Ferguson, and implored them not to act violently.”