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Off-duty Missouri police officer fires 17 shots killing teen - police say he fired first

St. Louis Police say the deceased man fired at the officer first.

Crowd gathers at fatal officer-involved shooting in Shaw Crowds confront police near the scene in in south St. Louis where a man was fatally shot. Source: AP

AN OFF-DUTY POLICE officer shot an killed an an 18-year-old man in St. Louis last night sparking protests in the city.

St. Louis Police say that the officer was working a second job as a security person when the incident happened and claim that the deceased opened fire on the officer during a chase.

The officer said three men in the street ran away when they spotted him, St. Louis Police chief Sam Dotson told reporters at a news conference.

The way that one of the men ran — grabbing at his waistband, slightly lopsided — indicated that he was carrying a weapon, so the officer chased him, Dotson said.

The man approached the officer in an aggressive way, an altercation ensued and the man fired at the officer, the police chief said. The officer returned fire and killed him.

Ballistic evidence recovered from the scene indicates that the man fired three rounds at the officer before his weapon jammed, Dotson said, adding that the gun was also recovered.

The officer fired 17 shots, Dotson said. He said he didn’t know how many of those shots hit the suspect or why the officer fired that many shots. The officer was not injured.

“An investigation will decide if the officer’s behavior was appropriate,” he said at police headquarters.

People who described themselves as relatives of the dead man told The St. Louis Post Dispatch that he was not armed.

Teyonna Myers, 23,  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.”

Dotson described the officer as a six-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department, and said the man who was killed was 18 years old and black.

He did not name either man.

Hours after the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene near the Missouri Botanical Garden. Some shouted “Hands up, don’t shoot” in reference to the fatal shooting in August of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson.

Crowd gathers at fatal officer-involved shooting in Shaw The 18-year-old was shot by an off-duty police officer. Source: AP

That shooting led to weeks of sometimes violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb. Officer Darren Wilson has not been charged in the shooting.

Dotson said some in the crowd Wednesday night shouted obscenities at officers and damaged police cars, but that the officers “showed great restraint.”

He added: “Any police officer use of force certainly will draw attention.”

With reporting from Rónán Duffy

Read: Local police stripped of authority over Ferguson protests >

Read: American school districts were given M16s, grenade launchers and armoured cars >

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