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Published On: Thu, Dec 25th, 2014

Missouri: Antonio Martin shooting death sparks new protests, chaos and questions

The mayor of the St. Louis suburb of Berkeley urged calm Wednesday after a white police officer killed a black 18-year-old man, Antonio Martin, who police said pointed a gun at him, sparking new tensions that have lingered since the death of Michael Brown in Ferguson. More protests, arrests and chaos in Missouri continues as sources on Twitter notes that some witnesses claim that Martin was unarmed at the time of the shooting.

Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins said surveillance footage appeared to show Martin pulling a gun on the unidentified 34-year-old officer who questioned him and another man about a theft at a convenience store. Brown was unarmed.

Antonio Martin 2013 booking photo

Antonio Martin 2013 booking photo

“You couldn’t even compare this with Ferguson or the Garner case in New York,” Hoskins said, referring to the chokehold death of Eric Garner, another black man killed by a white police officer.

St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar did not provide more details about the theft Martin was being asked about. He said Martin pulled a loaded 9mm handgun and the officer fired three shots while stumbling backward. One hit Martin, who didn’t fire his own gun. He died at the scene.

“I don’t know why the guy didn’t get a shot off, whether his gun jammed or he couldn’t get the safety off,” said attorney Brian Millikan, who is representing the officer. He said that the officer was lucky to be alive and certain he had no choice but to use lethal force.

A loaded 9-millimeter handgun was reportedly found at the scene and surveillance footage from the gas station shows Martin lifting up his arm at the unidentified officer. The video quality, however, is not particularly high, and the incident takes place in a far-off corner, making it difficult to discern exactly what happened. It also cuts off before Belmar shoots Martin.

“If he was in the wrong, I want to know he was in the wrong,” said Martin’s 65-year-old grandmother, Margret Chandler, an interview with the Los Angeles Times. “I want to see the gun in his hand.”
“I want to know if Antonio was in the wrong,” Chandler told the LA Times. “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.”
Martin was the third fatal shooting of a young black man by a white police officer in the St. Louis area since Brown was killed by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson on Aug. 9. Kajieme Powell, 25, was killed Aug. 19 after approaching St. Louis officers with a knife. Vonderrit Myers, 18, was fatally shot on Oct. 8 after allegedly shooting at a St. Louis officer.
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About the Author

- Catherine "Kaye" Wonderhouse, a proud descendant of the Wunderhaus family is the Colorado Correspondent who will add more coverage, interviews and reports from this midwest area.

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