CLAYTON, Mo. – The grieving mother of a man killed by a St. Louis County police officer is questioning claims made by the department that the fatal shooting was justified.
Armond Lamont Beckwith-Bell was shot and killed October 25. He was 28.
According to county police, two uniformed officers from the North County Precinct responded to a 911 call at the Oak Park Apartments and Townhomes in the 11100 block of Ruesta Drive.
The 911 call featured a woman yelling at a man to return her money and keys. The officers did not have an exact apartment, but when they arrived in the area they found what appeared to be an unresponsive man inside a running SUV.
Police said an officer looked inside the vehicle and noticed a handgun within easy reach of the man behind the wheel. That officer opened the door and tried to secure the gun. The man in the SUV woke up and a fight ensued over the handgun.
Beckwith-Bell began to drive while the officer was still inside the SUV. Police said the officer feared for his life and shot Beckwith-Bell.
Beckwith-Bell was taken to the hospital where he later died.
Neither officer was injured. Both officers were put on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation.
On Monday, Beckwith-Bell’s family and the Universal African Peoples Organization wanted to speak out in his defense. His mother, Rose Bell, said she has a terminal illness and her son was acting as her caregiver.
“They let me go out the hospital thinking my son (was) going to take care of me and he did,” she said.
Police said the SUV Beckwith-Bell was sleeping in was reported stolen from St. Louis City but the officers did not know it was stolen until after the shooting.
"Why did they not go directly to where the call was placed in terms of the address? The officer gets in his automobile. It's ironic when they call for him to get out of the automobile and he then end up in the car talking about police, we question that," said Zaki Baruti, Universal African People’s Organization. "There is always two sides to every story and then the truth."