"It's like Michael Brown all over again." That from the cousin of a teen who was fatally shot by an off-duty police officer in south St. Louis last night, sparking loud protests in the area. St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson says the 32-year-old officer was patrolling the Shaw neighborhood for a private security company when the shooting happened. As the officer described it to Dotson, he encountered three men in the street around 7:30pm. They ran away when they spotted him, and the way that one of the men ran suggested to the officer he was carrying a weapon; the officer gave chase. The city's assistant police chief says one of the men, who relatives have identified as 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr., jumped out of some bushes and an altercation ensued.
Per Dotson, the Post-Dispatch reports the teen fired at least three shots and would have fired more, but his gun jammed. The officer ultimately fired 17 shots, according to Dotson, who says he didn't know how many of those shots hit Myers or why so many were fired. The officer, a six-year veteran of the force, was not injured. A 9mm Ruger was recovered, but Myers' cousin tells the Post-Dispatch the 18-year-old "was unarmed. He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun." Hours after the shooting, a crowd topping out at about 300 people gathered at the scene near the Missouri Botanical Garden. Some shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" in reference to the fatal shooting in August of Brown, notes the AP. A number of police cars were damaged by protesters, but no arrests were made. (Read more St. Louis stories.)