St. Louis police release footage of fatal Berkeley shooting
The suspect, identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, was shot once after an officer discharged his weapon three times during the course of the altercation at a Mobile Gas station, according to Saint Louis county police. Martin, who was reportedly armed at the time of the shooting, is not believed to have fired his weapon.
During a press conference on Wednesday morning, police said Martin had a violent criminal past, including three assaults and armed robbery.
“He was known to law enforcement,” police chief Jon Belmar said.
Law enforcers said they did not know if the dash cam in the officer's car was turned on at the time of the altercation. The 34-year-old officer had also been assigned a body cam, though he was not wearing it at the time. Surveillance footage from the scene of the shooting, however, has been released by police.
According to police, the officer arrived at the scene after responding to a larceny call. Police say the officer exited his vehicle and gestured towards two suspects, who had been standing near the side of the building.
The suspects approached the vehicle while the officer was standing by the front right tire of his car. Martin then allegedly pointed a 9 mm handgun at the officer. Police say the officer, fearing for his life, fired three rounds at Martin. One shot reportedly hit Martin, one shot hit the police cruiser, and one has yet to be located.
“The suspect had a pistol in his hand. We did what we had to do,” said St. Louis County Police.
It remains unknown if Martin was shot following the alleged robbery or if he had discharged his gun during the confrontation. Police said a muzzle flash was not visible in the footage from either his gun or that of the officer's.
Martin's 9 mm, whose serial number had reportedly been defaced, was recovered at the scene. Police say it had 5 bullets in the clip and one in the chamber.
Following the encounter, the second suspect fled the scene.
The officer involved in the shooting, a 6-year-veteran of the force, has been placed on administrative leave as the investigation continues.
The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting an investigation into a shooting death involving a Berkeley,... http://t.co/MkxfC47B0L
— St. Louis County PD (@stlcountypd) December 24, 2014
“This is a tragedy for everybody and my heart goes out to the family. Bad choices were made,” Belmar said.
Belmar, offered his condolences to the victim’s family, saying the events that had transpired were a tragedy. “There is no reason for the family of this young man to see the rest of this video,” Belmar said in regards to the fact that the shooting was edited out of the footage released to the public.
— Tyree Boyd-Pates (@TyreeBP) December 24, 2014
Soon after the shooting, which transpired at 11:15 pm local time, protesters clashed with law enforcers at the scene. Loud bangs and smoke have also been reported. Police, however, saying that had learned lessons from previous recent events in Ferguson, allowed protesters "to vent."
— RT (@RT_com) December 24, 2014
Around 50 officers were sent to maintain order along with a tactical squad which police say was never deployed. Police said no chemical munitions were used to disperse the protesters, and two officers were injured while trying to maintain the peace. One of the officers reportedly injured his leg while running away after protesters set off an incendiary device near a gas pump. The nature of the other officer's injuries remain unknown.
Police said it "would be fair" to say that the protesters, some of whom allegedly brought bags of rocks, interfered with the investigation.
— Anonymous (@YourAnonGlobal) December 24, 2014
The also said that social media accounts which claimed Martin had been shot in cold blood would be disproved by the surveillance footage.
— John Henry (@JohnHenryKSDK) December 24, 2014
Police are expected to release more details later on Wednesday.