Police identify man killed by St. Louis officer near south city gas station

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ST. LOUIS, Mo. - St. Louis police identified a man who was shot and killed near a south city gas station Thursday evening.

The shooting happened around 9:30 p.m. at the intersection of Bates and Virginia, in the Carondelet neighborhood.

St. Louis Police Chief John Hayden said an officer had been checking on pedestrians in the area when one man tried to run away.

Officers chased the man, who ran into a gangway and tried to climb a fence but was not successful. The man then pulled out a handgun with an extended magazine. One officer demanded the man drop the gun. Hayden said the man did not comply and the officer opened fire, striking the armed individual.

The man, later identified as 24-year-old Cortez Bufford, was pronounced dead at the scene. An earlier report misidentified the man's age.

Bufford's weapon and narcotics were recovered at the scene.

The officer who shot Bufford is 35-years-old with 11 years on the police force. Hayden said the department's force investigative unit would handle the case.

Fox 2 News has learned Bufford had a prior run-in with police in April 2014. Dashcam video recorded a traffic stop in which St. Louis police officers could be seen dragging Bufford from his car and using a Taser on him. Bufford sued the officers for civil rights violations and ultimately reached a settlement.

It was second officer-involved shooting in less than 24-hours. And the shooting came approximately 48 hours after a 14-year-old was shot at that gas station, although Chief Hayden said there's no reason currently to connect the two events.

A spokesperson for Mayor Lyda Krewson said the city has put the BP gas station there under a public nuisance notice due to the high number of criminal complaints at that business.

So far this year, police have responded to 280 calls for service at the intersection of Bates and Virginia and 289 calls for service at the BP gas station there. Some of those calls may overlap.

The complaints could lead to the gas station being closed or its owners going to court.

Alderwoman Sarah Wood Martin, who represents the ward where this recent violence has occurred, said the city is taking the matter seriously.

"The activities in the last few days speak for themselves about how bad that area is right now," she said. "We don't want another vacant building there but the owners of the BP are going to have to commit to a real plan of action to increase the safety on their property."

Candace Cluck, who owns Takeoff Cuts and Styles, said the violence needs to end.

"And one of the things that I know me and some other business owners are doing over here is communicating with each other. And we all have security cameras," she said.

One of the customers in the store, Reggie Phipps, has a theory as to why violence is increasing.

"I think people don't value life enough because it should never come to that point," he said. "Problems happen, you know? Things happen, it should never escalate to the point where you're going to shoot somebody; you going to take somebody's life."

St. Louis police said Thursday night was the 13th officer-involved shooting so far this year. Eight of those incidents have been fatal.

There were 13 officer-involved shootings last year.  

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