ST. LOUIS (KMOV.com) – Tensions were high in south St. Louis after an 18-year-old was killed in an officer-involved shooting Wednesday night.
Authorities said the shooting occurred in the 4100 block of Shaw around 7:30 p.m. According to police, an off-duty police officer was patrolling for a private security company in the Shaw neighborhood. As he drove by the intersection of Klemm and Shaw, he noticed three men. Police said the men started to run and the officer chased after them.
Authorities said the officer eventually got out of his car and followed a suspect through a gangway. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the three suspects then came back together before one of them approached the officer in an aggressive way. According to police, the officer commanded the suspect, identified Thursday as 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. of the 4200 block of Castleman, to stop, but police said he refused to stop.
Police said the officer and Myers got into a physical altercation before the suspect ran again. During that altercation, Myers' hooded sweatshirt came off. Police said the officer thought Myers was armed, but did not shoot until he was certain he was armed with a gun. Police said Myers then fired three shots at the officer before the officer returned fire. According to police, the suspect attempted to fire more shots, but the gun malfunctioned and jammed. In total, police said the officer fired 17 shots. Authorities later recovered the suspect's 9 millimeter gun.
Police said the gun used was reported stolen on September 26, 2014.
At the time of the shooting, Myers was wearing an ankle bracelet and was on house-arrest, according to St. Louis Mayor Francis Slay's office. He was charged in June with unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest, according to online court records.
People began to gather at the scene shortly after the shooting. Family members on the scene were crying. Others at the scene yelled threats at the officers, but there has been no violence. Some also chanted "Hands Up Don't Shoot" and "Stop! We don't want racist police!"
Around 10:40 p.m. some members of the crowd grew disorderly. Members of the crowd approached police in an aggressive manner and started chanting. Several protesters vandalized police vehicles, including the tail light and a windshield wiper of a police SUV. In all, three vehicles were damaged, according to police.
News 4's Julian Johnson also saw several people following officers and getting in officers' faces. Police said officers did not fire shots during the demonstrations. However, several shots were heard during that time, but it is unknown who fired. One arrest was made during those protests, according to police.
Police closed much of Grand Avenue near I-44 late Wednesday night because they said protesters were walking into the street.
Early Thursday morning authorities told News 4 there was damage to a post office in the 2900 block of Meramac. It is currently unknown when the damage occurred but it was brought to the attention of police around 5:00 a.m.
The officer, who was not identified, was placed on routine paid administrative leave. He has been with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department for six year.
While the officer was not on duty for the police department at the time of the shooting, he was working "secondary employment," where officers work security in uniform and also carry their weapon. Officers working secondary employment have the same arresting powers as on-duty officers, according to an incident report by the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department.
Officer working secondary in the 4100 blk of Shaw attempted a pedestrian check when suspect fled on foot. Officer pursued suspect.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) October 9, 2014
Suspect turned & fired at officer. Fearing for his safety, officer returned fire striking the suspect, fatally wounding him.— St. Louis, MO Police (@SLMPD) October 9, 2014