Mo. Police Chief: Dead Teen Drew Gun First

Surveillance footage released by police
By Kate Seamons,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 24, 2014 7:59 AM CST

"Bad choices were made," said St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar in a morning press conference following last night's police shooting of a teen in Berkeley, Mo., a town bordering Ferguson. "This individual could have complied, he could have ran away, he could have dropped the gun," says Belmar, who declined to ID the dead 18-year-old. But Belmar did describe the victim, a black male named by local media as Antonio Martin, as being "known to law enforcement" due to prior weapons and stealing charges. Some footage taken by surveillance cameras at the Mobil station where the shooting occurred has now been released. The video does not show the shooting itself, ending at the point where the suspect allegedly draws his weapon. (ABC News describes it as "inconclusive, captured from the side of the building a considerable distance away.")

Belmar says the deceased "produced a pistol with his arm straight out, pointing it straight at the officer kind of from across the hood," per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. The officer then fired "what we think is three shots," says Belmar, who notes one round struck the suspect. A "defaced" 9mm gun was recovered and contained five rounds in the magazine and one round in the chamber. Belmar said the 34-year-old officer in question is a white male and a six-year veteran of the Berkeley force who was responding to a report of a theft. His dashboard cam was likely not on because it's activated by the police cruiser's red lights, which were off, says Belmar; the chief adds that the officer had been handed a body camera during his shift but wasn't believed to be wearing it. Belmar says St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Bob McCulloch has assigned a prosecutor to the case. (Read more Ferguson, Missouri stories.)

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