Calls for peace following violence in north St. Louis

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ST. LOUIS (KTVI) - Calls for calm and peace were issued Thursday afternoon following the violence that erupted Wednesday night after two St. Louis City police officers shot and killed an 18-year-old after he allegedly pointed a gun at the officers who were executing a search warrant for drugs and illegal guns.

Mayor Francis Slay and Chief Sam Dotson met with members of the St. Louis Clergy Coalition, who joined them in a call for peace.

“We are here as a community, clergy, the alderman, the police department, other members of the community standing together to call for peace and calm when it is needed the most,” Slay said.
“The residents of Fountain Park deserve this and I certainly hope they get it tonight.”

On Wednesday night, several hours after the shooting death of Mansur Ball-Bey, who was African-American, protesters marched from the Fountain Park neighborhood to the Central West End and back without much trouble.

But later in the evening, some in the crowd turned violent, setting a car and two vacant buildings on fire.

Several businesses had windows broken and someone stole an ATM from a corner market.

As police responded, they were hit by bricks and bottles thrown from the crowd.

Eventually police used smoke and then tear gas to clear the streets when protesters refused to stay on the sidewalk.

Police made nine arrests. The chief says all were people from the St. Louis area.

At the news conference, Ward Four Alderman Sam Moore, whose ward is immediately adjacent to the shooting scene, warned that nothing will change until something is done to reach young people in the city`s poorest neighborhoods.

“They just want to be heard. We need to sit down with them and be proactive,” Moore said. “Anytime you have 1,242 empty buildings and 1,700 vacant lots that breeds a subculture of, ‘I don’t care and I can’t make it out of here.’ This is third world living. We live like the Flintstones compared to the Jetsons.”

Mansur Ball-Bey, who lived in Spanish Lake, had been visiting his aunt’s residence in the city when the trouble began, according to his sister Tasha.

Ball-Bey graduated McClure South High School in May. His sister said he was thinking about going to community college to study carpentry. Ball-Bey had been working part time in the St. Louis Fed-Ex Ground Facility, and according to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, had been wearing his uniform when he was killed.

Ball-Bey had no adult criminal record.

When Ball-Bey was shot, he allegedly pointed a gun at police as he was running from the back porch of the house being searched, accompanied by another young man who got away. Police think they know who that person is and they are trying to find him.

Police said say the home they were searching was a known drug house and that they recovered four guns, three of them stolen.

At the news conference, Slay expressed his sympathies to the young man’s family and the families of the officers involved.

“I think the message today is that peace and calm have to prevail,” Dotson said. “Setting a car on fire doesn’t further the cause. Setting vacant buildings on fire doesn’t further the cause.”

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