ST LOUIS, Mo – In what seems like a never-ending cycle of violence, an off-duty St. Louis police officer has shot and killed a suspect in Shaw, Missouri, a neighborhood just miles from the suburb of Ferguson where Michael Brown was murdered in August.
The shooting, which took place Wednesday, Oct. 8, involved a 32-year-old white officer working a private security job and a black male identified as 18-year-old Vonderrick Myer.
Teyonna Myers, 23, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that the victim, her cousin, “had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun.” An update in the story has indicated that the teen was carrying a 9mm handgun and fired three times at the officer before being fatally shot. The officer rang off 17 shots.
According to reports, the officer has been put on administrative leave pending further investigation into the incident. Tensions continue to run high in the city and surrounding areas as protests erupted well into the night. Police closed off much of Grand Avenue near I-44.
While the city has been shaken up once again, opinions are mixed on the climate in STL.
“It’s hard to know what to believe anymore,” 43-year-old cab driver and St. Louis native, John, told VIBE. “Who can you trust? The cops tell their story but who really knows?”
Susan Barrett of the World Chess Hall of Fame shares similar sentiments: “We are all on edge here. We all have to start thinking differently. Every move we make has a consequence.”
Not everyone is feeling as antsy. Jason Wilson, president of Chronicle Coffee and Northwest Coffee Roasting says, “I love it here. St. Louis has its issues, but this is home.”
Former NFL player and St. Louis native Demetrious Johnson perhaps put it best: “We need change out here. I just can’t believe what’s happening. These young people need to see leaders in their community.”