Off-Duty Cop Fatally Shoots St. Louis Teen, Protests Erupt
St. Louis residents are outraged after an off-duty cop fired 17 rounds at 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers Jr. last night, STL Today reports.
Accounts of what led to the deadly shooting seem to dramatically conflict. According to Police Chief Sam Dotson, the teen opened fire on the off-duty officer, who was in uniform, but working a secondary job for a private security company. However, according to the teen’s cousin, Teyonna Meyers, 23, Vonderrit was unarmed.
“He was unarmed,” Teyonna said. “He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again.”
Chief Dotson says that it was approximately 7:30 p.m. when the officer, who was in a car, spotted three males. One of the males started to run away, but stopped. When the officer made a U-turn, all three of the men ran. He pursued them in his vehicle before getting out of his car to chase them on foot.
Assistant Police Chief Alfred Adkins claims that Vonderrit jumped from the bushes and tussled with the officer. Adkins went on to say that the scuffle resulted in Vonderrit running away and then turning back to open fire on the officer at least three times. The officer fired back at him 17 times, fatally wounding the teen. It’s currently unclear how many times Vonderrit was struck.
Word of the deadly shooting spread quickly, which resulted in protesters swarming the streets and demanding answers.
“My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich,” said Vonderrit’s uncle, Jackie Williams, 47, who said he spoke with several people who witnessed the shooting. “Security was supposedly searching for someone else. They tased him. I don’t know how this happened but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.”
According to CNN, officers say that they recovered a 9mm Ruger from the scene. A police spokesperson, however, is denying that the officer carried a Taser.
“This is not normal,” said resident Dorenda Townsend. “I’ve lived here over 20 years.”
We will continue to keep you posted as this story develops.