Hundreds of people gathered in the street outside an apartment complex in a St. Louis suburb on Saturday, screaming obscenities and “kill the police” after a police officer shot and killed an 18-year-old man.
The victim was identified by relatives as Michael Brown, who was scheduled to begin college classes Monday, according to the St. Louis Post Dispatch.
Brown’s grandmother, Desiree Harris, told the Associated Press that she was driving through the neighborhood Saturday afternoon when she saw her grandson running a few blocks from her house.
“He was running this way,” she said. “When I got up there, my grandson was lying on the pavement. I asked the police what happened. They didn’t tell me nothing.”
A spokesman for the St. Louis County Police Department confirmed to the Associated Press that it was a Ferguson police officer who shot the man, but did not identify the officer and did not immediately give a reason for the shooting.
Calls by The Times to the police were not returned.
Louis Head, Brown’s stepfather, held a sign that said “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!” the Post Dispatch reported. And Lesley McSpadden, Brown’s mother, said the shooting was “wrong and it was cold-hearted.”
By early Saturday night, dozens of police cars remained parked near the shooting scene as mourners left votive candles at a makeshift memorial in the middle of the street.
At the height of the post-shooting tensions, police at the scene called for about 60 other police units to respond to the area in Ferguson, a city of about 21,000 residents, about two-thirds of whom are black, the AP reported.
The crowd eventually dispersed and police scheduled a news conference for Sunday morning.
“We are hurt to hear that yet another teenaged boy has been slaughtered by law enforcement especially in light of the recent death of Eric Garner in New York who was killed for selling cigarettes,” St. Louis County NAACP President Esther Haywood said in a statement. “We plan to do everything within our power to ensure that the Ferguson Police Department as well as the St. Louis County Police Department releases all details pertinent to the shooting.”
Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson told KMOV, the St. Louis CBS-affiliate, that St. Louis County Police have taken over the investigation and the officer involved in the shooting has been put on paid administrative leave.
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