A white Ferguson, Mo., police officer moonlighting as a security guard for a private firm outside town shot and killed a black teenager during what police described as a gunfight Wednesday night, sparking a street demonstration and comparisons to the Michael Brown shooting that riveted the nation in August.
And it comes just as St. Louis officials are bracing for a weekend of protests by left and far-left groups over the Brown shooting.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, police said the shooting occurred about 7:30 p.m. in an unincorporated area of St. Louis County after the unidentified officer patrolling in a vehicle stopped four young men on foot near the Missouri Botanical Gardens.
The men fled and the officer gave chase, first in his vehicle, then on foot, the Post-Dispatch reported. An assistant police chief said one of the men stopped running and began fighting with the officer, pulling a gun and firing at least three times before his gun jammed.
The officer fired at least 17 times, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said at a 1 a.m. news conference.
A 9mm Ruger was found on the body, police said.
On the street, different stories circulated – along with the inevitable comparisons to the Brown shooting.
Relatives of the shooting victim, whom they identified as 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr., said he was unarmed and carrying a sandwich when the officer shot him.
One man, who told the Post-Dispatch he was the teen’s uncle and lived with him nearby, said he was told by witnesses that the shooting was a case of mistaken identity.
“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They Tased him,” Williams said, according to the Post-Dispatch. “I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”
A police spokeswoman told the Post-Dispatch the officer did not have a Taser.
Another woman told the paper she was Myers’ cousin.
“He was unarmed,” the woman said. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again..”
The Post-Dispatch reported about 100 demonstrators gathered several hours after the shooting.
At the news conference, Dotson said several police vehicles were damaged, but there had been no arrests.
He did not officially identify the victim, but said the Wednesday night fight was not the man’s first run-in with the law, according to the Post-Dispatch.
He “was no stranger to law enforcement,” Dotson said.
Meanwhile, a memo leaked to the Gatewaypundit shows St. Louis County activating its emergency operations center in preparation for a weekend of demonstrations apparently meant to pressure the grand jury hearing the case against Darren Wilson, the Ferguson police officer who shot Brown during a struggle Aug. 9.
According a website run by organizers of the demonstrations, Fergusonoctober.com, events will range “from massive marches to hip hop shows, from services to sit ins.”
It claims endorsements by major left-wing groups such as the Service Employees International Union, the AFL-CIO and Code Pink.
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