A white cop in St. Louis shot and killed black teenager Vonderrit Myers Jr. on the night of October 8, two months after the Michael Brown shooting that sparked the Ferguson protests. According to St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson, the unnamed officer, who was off-duty, shot at Myers 17 times. Unlike Michael Brown, this dead teenager was armed, but his death has nevertheless prompted a new wave of protests.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Myers Allegedly Opened Fire on the Cop
KSDK reports the off-duty officer saw three males on the street while working in his second job as a security officer. As he was driving close to the males, one of the them sprinted away. The cop got out of his car and confronted the group. St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson says Myers pulled a gun and fired three shots, but his gun jammed. The officer returned fire and discharged his weapon 17 times. Fox St. Louis reports that during the melee, Myers sweatshirt came off and that Myers’ 9 mm was visible to the officer.
We don’t know how many of those 17 shots hit Myers. Chief Dotson added that the cop is a white male.
2. The Shooting Occurred 10 Miles From Ferguson
Myers, 18, was shot in the St. Louis neighborhood of Shaw, close to Missouri’s Botanical Gardens and about 10 miles south of Ferguson, Missouri. On August 9, Michael Brown, 18, was shot dead by cop Darren Wilson in Ferguson, sparking protests and anarchy throughout St. Louis in August and September.
3. Myers Was ‘No Stranger to Law Enforcement’
In November 2014, Myers had been due to stand trial on a charge of gun possession and resisting arrest, reports the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Myers was the passenger in a car that was involved in a high-speed chase in St. Louis. After the car crashed, Myers got out and ran. He’s accused of throwing a loaded .38 down a storm drain. He was released from jail after posting a $1,000 cash bail. In a press conference, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said Myers is “no stranger to law enforcement.”
4. He Was a High School Student
Jackie Williams, Myers’ aunt, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that her nephew was still in high school and had a job in a warehouse. Her take on events is quite different from the police line:
My nephew was coming out of a store from purchasing a sandwich. Security was supposedly searching for someone else. I don’t know how this happened, but they went off and shot him 16 times. That’s outright murder.
5. Protesters Shouted ‘Black Lives Matter’ Long Into the Night
With the city of St. Louis and its suburbs still reeling from the Michael Brown shooting, protesters were on the streets again on the night of October 8 after news of Myers’ death spread. Large groups of people could be heard shouting slogans including “Black lives matter” and “F*ck the police.” There were no reports of injuries during the unrest on the night of October 8.