Deputy speaks after not firing shots at armed suspect who said " - KMOV.com

Deputy speaks after not firing shots at armed suspect who said "shoot me"

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A St. Clair County Deputy came face to face with a gun man who reportedly shouted for the deputy to shoot him. He said the events of Ferguson and other officer-involved shootings played into his split-second decision.

On April 11, Belleville Police were looking for a man who had allegedly robbed an Advanced Auto Parts at gun point.

The suspect's car was spotted by Dep. Robert Boehm. The suspect crashed and took off on foot. That's when Boehm spotted the suspect in the woods off 161 and St. Clair Ave holding what appeared to be a weapon.

“At that point I didn't know, I thought it was, it was being held like a pistol but I wasn't positive, I ordered him to drop it and he did immediately,” explained Dep. Boehm.

But Deputy Boehm says that's when the suspect continued to shout, "shoot me," as he sat on the ground.

“He was dropping his hands towards his lap which is where he'd dropped the object. He kept saying “shoot me,” he explained.

It all lasted a matter of seconds, but St. Clair County Sheriff Richard Watson says there's a lot that goes through an officer's mind in those moments.

“Can I be the next person that causes the next Ferguson or the Baltimore?” said Sheriff Watson.

Boehm says those thoughts didn't change his decision but they were there. Along with the fear for what would happen if the suspect did reach for that weapon.

“Every police officer in the country has that in their mind, without a doubt, but the fact of the matter is you can't let that affect the way you do your job,” Boehm said.

The situation is similar to recent officer-involved shootings. Just last August, Saint Louis police say Kajieme Powell came at officers with a knife. Cell phone video of that incident captured the moments before an officer did shoot Powell. The moments before he could be heard saying "Shoot me, shoot me."

“My situation shouldn't be used to judge how other officers choose in individual use of force situations. The truth is police officers are getting beat up every day for the decisions they make, decisions that would frankly make their critics wet themselves,” said Dep. Boehm.

Police were able to arrest Michael Dean, 24, and he has been charged for the Belleville robbery as well as another robbery at another Advanced Auto Parts. Federal authorities are also reviewing the case to see if additional charges are warranted.

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