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Berkeley suspect's grandmother: 'I want to see the gun in his hand'

Berkeley, Mo., shooting suspect's grandmother skeptical of grainy video: 'I want to see the gun in his hand'

The grandmother of the 18-year-old black man shot and killed by a white police officer in Berkeley, Mo., on Tuesday night was quite clear about how she felt about the shooting.

“I ain't thinking about Ferguson, ain't thinking about anything else," Margret Chandler, 65, of St. Louis, told the Los Angeles Times on Wednesday. "I’m just thinking about my grandson. ... I ain't interested in what people are talking about. I want the facts."

And the only thing she wants to know is whether her grandson, Antonio Martin, who died outside a gas station near Ferguson, Mo., pointed a gun at a police officer, as officials have said. (You can read The Times' full coverage of the shooting here.)

“If he was in the wrong, I want to know he was in the wrong. I want to see the gun in his hand," Chandler told The Times. "I don't want them to tell me he had it. I want to see it. These police do some dirty things. They just wait until nightfall to see some young black men and gun them down.”

Martin died in what police and city officials on Wednesday tentatively deemed a justified shooting, largely because of a loaded 9-millimeter handgun reported found at the scene and gas-station surveillance footage that shows Martin lifting up his arm at the unidentified officer.

The unidentified officer had a dash camera in his car and a body camera, but neither was activated, officials said. The gas-station footage released by police shows the encounter only from a distance, and police said they trimmed the footage to end at the moment before Martin was shot in order to spare his family the pain of seeing that. 

Chandler made it clear that seeing her grandson being shot wasn't an issue, and that only the facts mattered.

"We want to see the whole thing," she said. "They can show it to us in private, or in the media, or whatever."

Chandler, who said she hadn't seen Martin in a while, described him as being interested in sports and making music videos. “When he was around me, he was quiet, because he knew I didn’t go for no foolishness," Chandler told The Times.

Chandler added: "I want to know if Antonio was in the wrong. If he was in the wrong, it’s all over. But if they can’t show me he's in the wrong, then something's wrong."

Police officials said Martin had already been in trouble during his young life. Since turning 17, he had been arrested on suspicion of assaults, armed robbery, armed criminal action and theft, according to St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar.

Belmar said the 9-millimeter handgun found at the gas station had its serial number filed off, raising the possibility it had been stolen. Missouri law, with a few exceptions for military members, does not allow residents younger than 19 to carry concealed handguns.

"This doesn't make any sense for them to kill my son like this," Toni Martin-Green told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch from her home near the University of Missouri-St. Louis. "I am trying to be calm."

Martin's father, Jerome Green, told the newspaper that Martin was the oldest of four siblings and took medication for being hyperactive. 

"He was not a violent person, to our knowledge," Green told the Post-Dispatch. "Around us there weren't any pistols. It's hard to believe that."

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