ST. LOUIS, MO (KTVI) – People are again in the streets after a police officer shoots and kills a suspect. This time in North St. Louis. The call came out just after noon, when police say a man with a knife charged officers. Police are still trying to determine what happened and keep the peace.
The crowd here formed very quickly after the shooting which happened about 12:20pm. Many others have arrived here since, some carrying signs, some shouting. All upset over another shooting by an officer, fewer than three miles from the unrest in Ferguson.
“Hands up! Don`t shoot! Hands up! Don`t shoot!” the familiar chant, this time in a different place. The corner of Riverview and McLaran where what appeared to be a shoplifting incident involving a man witnesses and neighbors call, mentally challenged, took a violent turn.
Police say the man took items from the Six Star Market, twice. The second time police were called by the store owner, and a city alderwoman who was watching this unfold. A witness says, “The store owner and the alderwoman said the suspect was armed with a knife, acting erratically, pacing back and forth in the street talking to himself.”
When police arrived, they say the man charged the officers with the knife more than once. The second time they opened fire. Witnesses report him saying, “Kill me.”
The fast growing crowd had one question: What happened to the tasers?!
“So if you`re the family of a police officer and someone approaches you within three feet with a knife, I think you have the right to defend yourself and protect yourself. So I think it certainly is reasonable that an officer has an expectation to go home at the end of the night.” said St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson.
The chief would wade into the angry crowd, telling them what he told reporters. Then Alderman Antonio French also stepped in to try and keep the peace.
“You know your rights. I know your rights too. I`m gonna make sure that this man`s rights were exercised to and we gonna find out what happened. We gonna be patient in our neighborhood. Because you`ve got people that have got your back over here. You ain`t alone like they are in Ferguson.” said French.
Not everyone is responding to the peaceful message being preached by leaders. City police here are taking a very different approach to the crowd. They are staying in their cars, on the fringe of things. For now they are letting people vent their frustrations about this latest police shooting.
No officers were injured in this incident.