Teen Fatally Shot by Police Officer at Suburban St. Louis Gas Station


Anonymous Argentina

In Berkeley, Missouri—a suburb of St. Louis located just a few miles from Ferguson—18-year-old Antonio Martin was fatally shot by a police officer on Tuesday night. From the St. Louis County Police Department: 

At approximately 11:15 PM on December 23, 2014, a police officer with the City of Berkeley was conducting a routine business check at the Mobile Gas Station located at 6800 N. Hanley when he observed two male subjects on the side of the building.

The Berkeley Police Officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene.

The Berkeley Police Department requested the St. Louis County Police Department's Crimes Against Persons Unit to handle the investigation. St. Louis County Police Detectives have recovered the deceased subject's handgun at the scene.


At a press conference Wednesday morning, St Louis police chief Jon Belmar provided more details. According to Belmar, the officer involved was a six-year veteran of the Berkeley police department. He had shown up at the Mobile gas station in response to a call about theft (Belmar said it's unclear whether Martin and his friend fit the description of the suspects or whether the theft had taken place at the gas station). When Martin produced a 9 millimeter pistol, the officer "produced his service weapon and fired what we think at this point was three shots," said Belmar. One shot struck Martin, one struck the tire of the police car, and the other is still unaccounted for. 

While the officer's car did have a dashcam, it's uncertain whether it was turned on. The officer also had a bodycam, but he was not wearing it at the time. However, there is video footage from the gas station cameras, which Belmar showed at the press conference (and can be seen below). Here's audio of the police dispatch following the shooting. 

Belmar said an ambulance arrived at the scene, and Martin was pronounced dead. Bystanders, however, are reporting that an ambulance was not called quickly enough (or perhaps at all), and Martin lay bleeding out for 30 minutes after he was shot. His body was removed after two hours.

In the time between the shooting and the release of the video footage, several hundred people gathered in the Mobile gas station parking lot, where tension was high. Conflict broke out between cops and the crowd at several points. According to Belmar, bricks were thrown at officers and "we had three explosive devices that were used … directly next to a gas pump." Four people were arrested for assaulting officers. 

Police deployed pepper spray, but did not deploy tear gas or flashbangs, said Belmar. On social media, rumors of both had been circulating, along with assertions that Martin had been unarmed. "I've already seen on social media that this officer killed him in cold blood," said Belmar. "Well, that's not what you're going to see on the video." 

Actually, it's pretty hard to tell what's happening in the video, which captured the events from across the parking lot. Martin can be seen raising his arm, and then the video stops. Belmar said police have video of Martin being shot, but won't release it out of respect for his mother.

It's clear at least one witness had a good view of what went down, so hopefully we'll get a more complete picture in time. There also may be video from other, closer cameras that is yet to be released. 

Video from after the shooting: 

UPDATE: Here's a slowed down and zoomed in look at the important part of the video: