A St. Louis shooting has claimed the life of a young black male, who police said brandished a knife and charged at officers patrolling St. Louis, where protests and riots over the shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown have yet to be quelled.
Writes CNN: “According to the St. Louis police chief, the suspect was involved in an incident earlier in the day at a convenience store, where he is accused of walking out with two energy drinks and a package of pastries without paying.”
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson recounted the shooting: “The suspect, who right now is described as a 23-year-old African-American, was acting erratically – walking back and forth up and down the street,” Dotson said.
The police chief said the shooting was a “death by cop” showdown.
“As officers arrived, the suspect turned towards the officers and started to walk towards them clutching his waistband. He then pulled out a knife and told the officers, ‘Shoot me now. Kill me now,’” the chief said.
The man kept coming at officers, getting within two or three feet – “lethal range for a knife” according to Chief Dotson – and the officers then opened fire, dropping him with multiple rounds.
Dotson, perhaps taking a lesson from the lack of immediacy in the release of details regarding the Michael Brown shooting, said he wanted information to be made public as “quickly and as truthfully as possible.”
Dotson was asked why his officers didn’t use tasers to incapacitate the man, rather than shooting him. In response, Dotson said: “If you're the family of a police officer and somebody approaches you within three feet with a knife, I think you have the right to defend yourself and protect yourself. So I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an expectation to go home at the end of the night,” he said.
St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay said she will ensure there is transparency in the shooting investigation, and is prepared to deal with any resulting protests.
“We want to make sure this is handled in a transparent way,” Slay said, adding that she is “fully prepared” to handle any copycat protestors who are already charged up over the events in Ferguson. “We are very aware of the high emotion,” Slay said.
For more on the Michael Brown shooting, see: