Friday, October 10, 2014

#FergusonOctober St. Louis police officer kills 18 year old Vonderrit Myers

 Safety to those traveling to Ferguson this weekend for #FergusonOctober. Sad for another family who lost their loved one way too early. As in the case with Michael Brown, they will have to wait for justice. Rest in Peace, Vonderrit.

reports:St. Louis Dispatch

 A shot to the head killed an 18-year-old teenager shot to death Wednesday during an encounter with an off-duty police officer, the medical examiner said Thursday.

Preliminary autopsy results showed that Vonderrit Myers Jr. was shot from six to seven times in the lower extremities, said Dr. Michael Graham. The fatal shot entered the right cheek and was recovered in the body, Graham said.

Sen. Jamilah Nasheed had suggested at a press conference earlier today that the teen had been shot in the back of the head, but the autopsy did not find any gunshots to the back of Myers' head.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the officer was off-duty, working a secondary job for a private security company patrolling the Shaw neighborhood, when he chased and fatally shot an 18-year-old male Wednesday night who came at him aggressively in a gangway.

The teen had a gun and fired at least three shots at the officer, who returned fire, the chief said. The teenager attempted to fire more but his gun jammed, Dotson said. The officer was unhurt. The officer fired 17 times, Dotson said.

The shooting unfolded in south St. Louis, not far from the Missouri Botanical Garden, led to hours of protests overnight Wednesday and into Thursday morning as an angry crowd gathered quickly when news spread across social media.

Relatives and police identified the dead man as Vonderrit Myers Jr., 18. Myers was wearing an ankle bracelet at the time he died — a court-ordered monitoring system as a condition of bail in a gun case, according to his lawyer and police.

Relatives disputed the police version of events, saying Myers didn't have a weapon.
“He was unarmed,” said Teyonna Myers, 23, of Florissant. She said she was a cousin. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”
Berhe Beyent, the manager of Shaw Market near the shooting scene, said Myers came in the store and bought a turkey sandwich and a soda about 10 minutes before the shooting. 

Beyent said he knew the young man and didn't believe he had a gun at the time, and said it didn't fit his personality.

The crowd that converged on the scene through the night numbered about 300 at its peak. Dotson estimated that about 100 police officers were there. Random gunshots fired by someone near Shaw caused many to scatter. At least two rounds of gunshots were heard near the scene. Three police cars were damaged by protesters kicking in the vehicles' windows or tail lights.

Protesters along with Sen. Jamilah Nasheed also showed up outside the Police Department's headquarters on Thursday morning, demanding the shooting be investigated by the U.S. Justice Department and a blue-ribbon panel appointed by Gov. Jay Nixon.

Dotson, who came to the shooting scene and gave an update to reporters after midnight, said the uniformed officer had been in a car when he saw three males near Shaw Boulevard and Klemm Street at about 7:30 p.m. Wednesday. One of the males started to run away but stopped. The officer did a U-turn and then all three ran, in the 4100 block of Shaw Boulevard. The officer drove through streets following them, and then he got out and chased them on foot.

The officer followed one of the young men, identified as Myers, into a gangway. He was running and holding his waistband in a way that caused the officer to suspect he had a gun, according to police.
Myers turned and approached the officer in "an aggressive manner," police said, and the officer told Myers to surrender. Myers continued to come at the officer and the two struggled. A sweatshirt the man was wearing came off during the struggle, police said.

Myers then ran from the officer, up an incline in the 4100 block of Shaw, and the officer saw what he believed to be a gun. He did not immediately fire because he wanted to be sure it was a firearm, police said. Myers turned and pointed a gun toward the officer and fired at least three shots, police said.
As Myers fired, the officer returned fire, police said. Myers continued to pull the trigger, but his gun apparently jammed.
It's unclear how many times Myers was hit. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Beyent, the manager of Shaw Market, said he made Myers a turkey hoagie with pepper jack cheese and red onions about 10 minutes before hearing gunfire outside his store. He described Myers' demeanor as "relaxed, regular, no worries or nothing."

"He probably didn't even finish it," he said.

Beyent says he has known Myers for about a decade and that the teen would come into his store daily, sometimes more than once a day, for snacks and turkey sandwiches.

He said Myers paid for the sandwich and a Sprite before walking out with a friend and a cousin.
"I told him to go home and be safe because it's getting dark," Beyent said.

Beyent said Myers did not seem like a violent person and disputes the police department's account of the shooting "That's not the way he was," he said. "There wasn't enouigh time for himto go home and get a gun."

Williams said Myers worked at a warehouse and attended high school. According to school records, Myers spent most of his time in school in the Confluence charter schools, enrolling at the Old North campus in 2005. He attended Confluence Preparatory Academy in downtown and transferred out in the 2011-12 school year. He left as a freshman.

Myers enrolled in the virtual education program in St. Louis Public Schools last year, according to district spokeswoman Meredith Pierce. The Virtual Academy allows students to get or recover credits from home or from several campuses. Myers did his coursework from Gateway STEM Academy.

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