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Another Deadly Encounter Between Police, Black Resident in Missouri

  • VOA News

Surveillance video shows an officer-involved shooting during a routine business check at a gas station in Berkeley, Missouri, Dec. 23, 2014.

Surveillance video shows an officer-involved shooting during a routine business check at a gas station in Berkeley, Missouri, Dec. 23, 2014.

A police officer has shot and killed an armed black man in a St. Louis suburb near where an unarmed black teen was killed by a white officer in August.

The shooting took place late Tuesday at a gas station in Berkeley, Missouri. The officer reportedly was given a body camera but it was not activated at the time of the shooting, according to officials.

St. Louis, Missouri suburb.

St. Louis, Missouri suburb.

St. Louis County Police Spokesman Jon Belmar says the officer encountered two men during a routine check at a gas station. The spokesman says one of men pointed a gun at the officer, prompting the officer to open fire. The second man fled the scene.

"We do not believe that there were any shots fired from the suspect. The suspect was armed with a 9-millimeter Hi-Point" with a defaced serial number, Belmar said, adding that the gun had five rounds of ammunition in the magazine and one in the chamber.

Belmar said the suspect, identified by local media as Antonio Martin, 18, had a history of run-ins with the law including assaults, armed robbery and theft.

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said during a news conference Wednesday that the officer may have saved his own life by shooting the suspect.

After the shooting, a crowd of several dozen residents gathered at the scene and confronted police. Belmar says three explosive devices, possibly fireworks, were tossed near gas pumps, while some protesters threw rocks and bricks at police. Two officers were injured. Four people were arrested and charged with assault.

Berkeley borders the town of Ferguson, where Michael Brown, 18, an unarmed black man, was shot and killed during a heated street confrontation with a white police officer earlier this year.

Brown's death and several other cases have triggered demonstrations across the United States protesting aggressive policing tactics involving African Americans, as well as decisions by local grand juries not to indict officers involved in the deaths of Brown and Eric Garner, a New York City man whose death was captured on video.

Several hundred people marched in New York Tuesday night despite a plea by Mayor Bill de Blasio to suspend demonstrations in the aftermath of last week's fatal ambush of two New York police officers.

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