St. Louis area police and local residents are tense and emotional after a police officer fatally wounded a young Black teen.
The shooting occurred early Saturday afternoon in the Ferguson area, a city a few miles north of downtown St. Louis. While concrete details are scarce, the victim, identified as Michael Brown, was fatally wounded after an unnamed officer fired multiple shots. Early reports indicate the eighteen-year-old victim was unarmed and walking in the street in his neighborhood. Witnesses on the scene said the boy’s body laid on the ground uncovered while his family stood by, including a man said to be Brown’s stepfather, who wear a sign that read “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”
Per the AP, St. Louis police spokesman Brian Schellman stated “a couple hundred” residents of the area descended on the scene, allegedly yelling “kill the police” and officers said they thought they heard gunshots from the crowd. In response, law enforcement from surrounding areas to came to the scene to assist. There were no reports of additional injuries.
Update: On Sunday morning, St. Louis County Police held a press conference to address Saturday’s fatal shooting by an officer. Per St. Louis’ KMOV:
“According to St. Louis County Police Chief Belmar, an unarmed 18-year-old, Mike Brown, was walking with a friend in the middle of Canfield when an officer attempted to exit his vehicle. Police said Brown pushed the officer back into the police car. According to police, Brown then entered the officer’s vehicle and a struggle ensued over the officer’s weapon. Police said during the physical altercation a shot was fired inside of the car.
“The officer and Brown exited the vehicle where Belmar said the fatal shooting occurred. Belmar noted he did not have an exact number of times that Brown was shot but said he was shot ‘more than just a couple of times, but not much more.’”
The story varies slightly from the depiction given by social media and witnesses at the scene, who indicate Brown was running away with his hands up and early reports that indicate there were nine or ten shots fired, including some after the teen was already wounded and down.
“Witnesses to the shooting identified the victim as Michael Brown, 18. They say he was walking in the middle of a street with a friend, Dorin Johnson, when a Ferguson officer drove up and ordered them to the sidewalk. Johnson said they told him they were a minute away from their destination and then they would be out of the street. After a verbal confrontation, witness Piaget Crenshaw said the officer got out of his car and fired a shot. Both teens ran, she said, and another shot was fired. Johnson hid behind a car, but said his friend stopped after a second shot was fired at him. Crenshaw and Johnson say the teen held up his hands to show he did not have a weapon, however the officer fired at him two more times and he collapsed and died in the street.”
Update, August 11: The family has asked that people stop sharing the photo of Mike Brown’s deceased body. To respect their wishes, we have removed the photo.
The AP reports that the FBI has taken over the investigation into the shooting. The family of Michael Brown retained the services of civil rights attorney Benjamin Crump, most known for representing the family of Trayvon Martin.