BERKELEY, Mo. (KMOV.com) – St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said at least two officers were injured and four people were arrested following a fatal officer-involved shooting late Tuesday night in Berkeley, Missouri.
In a news conference Wednesday morning, Belmar said the officer involved in the shooting was a six-year veteran of the Berkeley Police Department. He said the officer was responding to a stealing call around 11:15 p.m. when he first encountered two men on the Mobil On the Run gas station parking lot in the 6800 block of North Hanley.
The officer was talking to the two men when one of them, identified on Tuesday as Antonio Martin, 18, pointed a 9mm handgun toward him, Belmar said. The officer then fired, what police believe to be three shots, striking Martin once. The other man fled the scene on foot.
Following the shooting, the officer retreated behind a gas pump until an assist car arrived to the scene.
Martin's gun, which Belmar said had been defaced, was recovered with five rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. He said it is unknown at this point in the investigation if any shots were fired from the gun.
Belmar said the department is currently obtaining police radio communications regarding the stealing call and shooting. He said the department is investigating if the two men who engaged with the officer at the Mobil station were connected to the stealing call.
Less than 30 minutes after the shooting took place, the Berkeley Police Department contacted the St. Louis County Police Department for help in the investigation. St. Louis County Police arrived to the scene around 12:15 a.m.
Belmar said at least two people witnessed the shooting at the gas station. He also said they have surveillance video from the Mobil station which shows the incident. Police are currently looking for the suspect that fled the scene after the shooting.
Belmar said Martin is "well-known" to police. He added Martin has an arrest record in Berkeley and St. Louis County.
The officer involved in the shooting has been placed on administrative leave, per department protocol. He was not identified.
“He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career,” Belmar said. “So there are no winners here.”
Belmar said the officer did have a dash camera in his vehicle but did not know if the camera captured the incident. He also said the officer did not get a body camera assigned to him Tuesday night but did acquire one throughout the evening. According to Belmar, the body camera was not on the officer at the time shooting. Belmar noted “these things do happen” and the surveillance video from the gas station will help in the investigation.
Belmar contacted St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch shortly after the shooting and has kept him up-to-date in the investigation. He said McCulloch has already assigned a special prosecutor to the case.
Theodore Hoskins, the mayor of Berkeley, said the city will conduct an independent, thorough investigation into the shooting.
Shortly after the shooting took place, between 200 and 300 people began gathering at the Mobil station. Belmar said several bricks were thrown at officers and at least one officer sustained facial abrasions after being hit with a brick.
Belmar said three explosive devices were set off, two at the Mobil station and one at a nearby QuikTrip. He believes the device set off at the QuikTrip started a small fire which was quickly extinguished.
One officer sustained a leg injury while trying to get away from the explosions.
Four people were arrested throughout the evening for assaulting officers.
The chief said some protesters questioned why the officer couldn’t use pepper spray or a stun gun.
“Frankly, that’s unreasonable,” Belmar said. “When we had somebody pointing a gun at a police officer, there’s not a lot of time.”
Belmar said 50 officers responded to the shooting scene and a tactical unit was staged but never approached the gas station. He said police did not deploy flash bangs or tear gas during the evening.