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Off-Duty St. Louis Officer Fatally Shoots 18-Year-Old Black Man

An off-duty white police officer in St. Louis shot and killed an 18-year-old black man who police say opened fire during a chase in south St. Louis. The incident sparked renewed protests in a city already rocked by anger over the fatal police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown in the suburb of Ferguson in August.

St. Louis Public Radio live-blogged the protests here.

But Stltoday.com says relatives who came to the scene of the shooting said the victim, whom they identified as Vonderrit Myers Jr., had been unarmed.

The website of The St. Louis Post Dispatch says:

"[St. Louis Police Chief Sam] Dotson said the officer was in a car when he saw three males and one of them started to run away but stopped. The officer did a U-turn and then all three ran. He drove through streets following them and then chased them on foot. He then got into a physical confrontation with one that escalated into gunfire.

"The teenager had a gun and fired at least three shots at the officer, who returned fire, the chief said. The teenager attempted to fire more but his gun jammed, Dotson said."

Dotson said the 32-year-old officer, who was not named, fired 17 rounds. The officer was working for a private security firm at the time of the shooting, the police chief said. Assistant Police Chief Alfred Adkins said the officer is a six-year veteran of the force.

Dotson said he didn't know how many of the shots hit the man or why the officer, who was uninjured in the confrontation, fired so many rounds. Police recovered a 9 mm Ruger pistol, he said.

"An investigation will decide if the officer's behavior was appropriate," Dotson said.

Stltoday.com says:

"A crowd of dozens of people — including several who said they were Myers' relatives — gathered at the scene, which is just east of the Missouri Botanical Garden. Some shouted at police, and some were in tears.

"A few hours after the shooting, a group of protesters blocked traffic on Grand Boulevard at Shaw. At least two rounds of gunshots were also heard near the scene.

"Teyonna Myers, 23, of Florissant, said Myers was her cousin.

" 'He was unarmed,' Teyonna Myers said. 'He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It's like Michael Brown all over again.' "

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Scott Neuman is a reporter and editor, working mainly on breaking news for NPR's digital and radio platforms.