ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) -Two St. Louis police officers confronted an armed man in the midst of the Mardi Gras celebration Saturday afternoon. The uniformed officers ordered the man, identified as Otis Robinson, 32, of St. Louis, to drop his hand gun. He refused. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Robinson turned the weapon toward the officers. At that point, both officers fired at Robinson. He died from his wounds at a local hospital.
The incident happened between 2:15 and 2:30 near Ninth Street and Barton just a few blocks from the St. Louis Police department's command post for the Mardi Gras celebration.
It was the first fatal shooting at a St. Louis Mardi Gras. The celebration has been going on for 34 years.
"They actually were in the area..heard one shot fired from that weapon. When they responded, they found the individual with the gun..he turned, pointed it at the officers and again fearing for their safety they returned fire," explained Chief Dotson.
St. Louis homicide detectives were called in to investigate the police shooting under normal procedure. The officers, one with 22 years on duty and the other 33 years on the force, were placed on administrative leave, under normal police department procedures.
Chief Dotson noted the department had been warning Mardi Gras participants not to bring a weapon to the event.
Mardi Gras Inc. spokesman Mack Bradley praised the officers for acting appropriately. Both officers had been working for Mardi Gras Inc. under a secondary employment agreement allowing police to work extra jobs during their off hours.
"Other than this incident, we had a very successful day," said Bradley.
The shooting in a mixed use residential and commercial area put hundreds of nearby partiers at risk.
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