A black teenager killed by a police officer in St. Louis, coming just two months after the fatal shooting of Michael Brown, had gunpowder residue on his hands, jeans and T-shirt, according to crime lab results.
Last Wednesday, Vonderrit Myers, 18, became the second black teenager to be shot and killed by a white officer in as many months. Meyer’s death reignited simmering rage on the streets of St. Louis, which is attempting to recover from the August 9 shooting of unarmed teen Michael Brown.
In scenes becoming all-too-familiar for this Missouri city of some 315 million people, protesters took to the streets to speak out against “police violence,” while demanding the arrest of Darren Wilson, the white officer who killed Brown in August. A grand jury is considering the evidence against the officer, but has not yet reached a conclusion.
Meanwhile, the forensics results in the latest shooting incident lends credence to the initial police report that Myers fired at least three times at an off-duty police officer. Myers’ family claims he did not own a gun, but police say they found the weapon he allegedly fired at the crime scene.
The identity of the police officer who shot Myers has not been released.
The St Louis Metropolitan Police Department said in a prepared statement that the presence of gun powder residue on an individual’s body or clothing could mean the person discharged a firearm or was in proximity to a firearm when it was discharged.
— Danny Wicentowski (@D_Towski) October 13, 2014
While St. Louis Police officials were largely silent following Brown’s killing, they said they would be more forthcoming in this latest incident that has once again cast the St. Louis Police Department in a bad light.
“We’re done as a police union standing in the shadows in these cases. We are actively defending the officer involved in the shooting,” Jeff Roorda, manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, told reporters Tuesday.
He believes the crime lab results confirm the police officer’s account of what happened.
“We saw in the wake of the Michael Brown Ferguson shooting that there was a public outcry, fueled largely by agitators in Ferguson where they demanded that police immediately release details,” Roorda said, as quoted by USA Today.
“That happened in this case. Police immediately, as information became apparent and known to them, released these facts. … Even with that, we still saw violence in the street.”
St. Louis Medical Examiner Dr. Michael Graham said last week that Myers was struck by seven or eight bullets, while police say the officer fired his weapon 17 times.