Man shot and killed by St. Louis police near Ferguson

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ST. LOUIS — St. Louis police shot and killed a young African-American man Tuesday after authorities say he brandished a knife.

The shooting took place not far from Ferguson, Missouri, where the death of black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer has touched off violent protests.

“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,” St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters.

“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.

Responding officers told the man, repeatedly, to stop and drop his knife, Dotson said. He continued to approach, coming within about four feet of one of the officers, Dotson said, adding that both officers then fired their weapons, striking the suspect.

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.

Asked about whether he was concerned Tuesday’s shooting could inflame passions further in nearby Ferguson, Dotson talked about the importance of officer safety.

“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.

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  • Festus

    Don’ threaten the police with a knife and you will NEVER be shot by the police. Guaranteed!
    The world is now one less asshole.

    • jen

      Thank you…I dont know why they complain, look how they act and mourn…do shop owners have the right to protect? I would shoot each and every one of those trouble makers…poor or not that is their decision to be looked down upon. I’m sure there are plenty of others who are dealing with this appropriately…support for the officer from me! Like the officer said…I would rather be judged by 9 than carried by six…if you behave then you dont have to be scared of the police..

  • George Neal

    It sounds like the world is one less man with severe problems who needed help. Instead of using their taser or other non-lethal weapons, the cops ended this man’s life. Don’t these cops know how to use a taser anymore or at least how to aim a gun to wound and not kill? It sounds to me as if they do’t know how to properly do their job.

    • Todd

      It sounds to me that you live in TV and movie land. I’ll give you a choice of a taser or gun. Now go fight a man with a knife three feet away. Let’s see how well you do the job.

      • bee

        I don’t think George Neal is a police officer, so why are you expecting him to handle this situation as if he was? It’s laughable to say that the unstable person with the knife is in control of the situation when there are two (trained) police officers with guns, so that there was no other option but to kill him. Either they really need to to figure out how to train their officers to handle threatening situations with less causalities, or this was murder. But as long as they get to go home stay warm and comfortable at night, everything is cool. The guy was probably trash anyway, right? The value of human life is relative.

        • Dave Ki

          A person can cover just over 21 feet in about 3 seconds, hell they don’t know if he’s high as a kite or what.You aim for a leg or something I aim center of mass.

    • Dave Ki

      Have you ever fired a gun?Might not be as easy to make that non fatal shot as you seem to think it is.Have you ever seen someone keep coming after being tased?The article say’s he came to within about 4′ how far away was he to start?Was he warned?Yes. Where do they keep their tasers? Did they have any to start with?Unless they were wearing them chances are they couldn’t have gotten them in time.See below 21′ in about 3 seconds.

    • James

      The problem is that a taser can go one of two ways: the desired way is for the suspect to fall to the ground giving you enough time to get the cuffs on him. The other way is the the taser has no effect either because the electrodes don’t penetrate, the suspect is high or he’s strong enough to withstand the shock for a couple of seconds and thereby able to continue with his attack. Now if the latter happens with an unarmed suspect, then the worst case scenario is a shiner on your eye and a busted nose; when the suspect has a knife or any other kind of weapon, it could mean critical injury or death. That’s why the police shot him. Also, there’s no such thing as shooting to wound. You aim for the easiest target which is the chest (sometimes referred to as center mass). Yes, this means there’s a good chance the suspect will die. Better to be judged by twelve than carried by six.

      I really don’t think the police in this area would want *another* story about them shooting and killing a black man.

    • Dave Ki

      How right you are.Except cops have no duty to protect you.I protect me and mine and if the cops show up they can take the report.But I know what you are saying though.

  • Leonard H Rice Jr

    my self 4 feet away I would have tazed him or shot him in the knee their was no reason too kill him and if them cops could not have or feared they might miss from 4 feet too hit a knee they should not be carrying a gun.

  • Dave Ki

    LEONARD:I think maybe you are one of these people that has never fired a shot in your life or very few. That target at say 4′ is actually harder to hit then the one at lets say 15′ if you are going for as you say the knee or just a shot to wound yet stop them. Wait till you have someone coming at you with a knife and they close to within 4′ then see what you do.You would probably empty your mag. at the biggest part of your target. Center of mass.

    • tommaso

      Yes… if you’re a crazed maniac. There is only evidence of him approaching them at a slow pace. He most likely would not have done anything, and was not aggressively threatening them. He merited a nonlethal shot, nothing more.

  • tommaso

    People need to understand that death is the worst punishment you can get for something that does not merit it’s action. This is ridiculous, and proves that cops will think of their own safety before those of the citizens in danger. A lethal shot was unnecessary and unjust.