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Neighbors express sadness at memorial for Vonderitt Myers

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - There were no protests Saturday morning where a man died after a fatal officer-involved shooting in South St. Louis. Instead, many prayed for that man and for a night without violence.

With balloons, toys and candles bunched together, one might think a birthday party would be at the corner of Shaw Boulevard and Klemm Avenue.

"On the inhale, I think of love," Rebekah Jarchow kneeled on the grass just feet away. "And on the exhale, I think of peace."

But, one man who signed the cardboard poster fixed to the tree knew he would never see his neighbor, 18-year-old Vonderitt Myers ever again.

"I've been here for 23 years, and nothing like this has ever happened over in this area. It just feels different," he stared at the teddy bears and candles on the ground. "It gives you a different feeling just walking around knowing that instantly at any moment, something could happen like this."

The tree marked where a St. Louis Metropolitan police officer shot and killed Myers Wednesday night. Chief Sam Dotson said Myers fired a gun at the officer. A woman came to the memorial; saying she only knew Myers from seeing him in the neighborhood. She did not believe the shooting was justified.

"Sadness. I hope justice comes to it."

Jarchow said she never met Myers. She still meditated at the tree.

"When one person's heart breaks, everybody's does."

A market stands across the street, with some of the last moments of Myers' life captured on the surveillance camera inside. The owners would not speak on camera. Four young men, who said they were his close personal friends, also refused. They said seeing so many people of different backgrounds and races signing a card or giving a prayer was "all love".  They also welcomed another night of protests as long as those protests remain peaceful.

That was not the case earlier this week. Aaron Barkfelt planned to demonstrate Saturday night in a peaceful – if not quiet -- way.

"We say loud stuff, not-so-nice stuff. But, we're still heard."

"I'm just kind of praying that everyone stays safe," Jarchow hoped. "Takes a deep breath before they react to anything, regardless of what it is."

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