Another deadly police shooting in St. Louis area

St. Louis (KSDK/WTSP) -- A 23-year-old man reportedly armed with a knife is dead after two police officers shot him in north St. Louis.

The unidentified suspect was pronounced dead at the scene, which is located approximately four miles from the unrest in Ferguson.

Chief Sam Dotson with the St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department says at 12:20 p.m. officers received a call for a disturbance in the area of Riverview Boulevard and McLaran Avenue.

Dotson says the suspect entered a nearby convenience store and walked out carrying two energy drinks. The store owner asked him to stop, but let him walk out the door. Dotson says a few minutes later the suspect came back inside the store, took a package of pastries, and started to walk back outside.

According to Dotson, the store owner followed the suspect out of the store and asked him to pay for the items. He says the suspect threw the pastries into the street, and the store owner called police.

Several witnesses, including a St. Louis alderman, watched as the suspect acted erratically and pacing, and they called police as well. The store owner and the alderman told police the suspect was armed with a knife and talking to himself.

When police arrived, they say the suspect walked toward them clutching his waistband. They say he then pulled out a knife and held it up in what Dotson described as an "overhand grip."

The officers, who were still in the patrol vehicle, and witnesses say the suspect yelled, "Shoot me now, kill me now." The police officers yelled at the man to drop the knife, but Dotson says he did not respond to verbal commands.

One officer got out of the patrol car, and when the suspect displayed his knife, the officers drew their weapons.

Dotson says the suspect walked toward the officer still sitting in the patrol car, and when he moved between three and four feet from the vehicle holding the knife, both officers fire their weapons, striking him.

According to Dotson, they are checking to see if there is any surveillance video of the incident. He said witnesses, including the alderman, say they heard and saw the officers giving commands for the suspect to drop the knife.

The weapon was recovered at the scene.

When Dotson was asked if he believes the shooting was justified, he said his officers "have the right to go home at night" and that every officer has the right to defend themselves and the community.

Within an hour of the shooting, a crowd had gathered in the area, chanting "Hands up! Don't shoot!"

Alderman Antonio French told NewsChannel 5 he has talked to the community gathering at the scene and reminded them this isn't Ferguson, and implored them not to act violently.

Dotson talked to the crowd, and French says Dotson answered questions and told them it will be a quick investigation. French says adds the scene was processed quickly and officers respected the suspect's body.

Nearby Ferguson has been roiled by 10 days of protests and violence, following the fatal shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a police officer.

Schools were closed and streets were quiet Tuesday, hours after peaceful demonstrations once again descended into chaos with police coming "under heavy gunfire" and arresting 31 people. But everyone was bracing for whatever Tuesday night might bring.

"I don't want anyone to get hurt. I don't want an officer to get hurt, I don't want a citizen to get hurt. We have to find a way to stop it," says Missouri State Highway Patrol Captain Ron Johnson.

PHOTOS: Police, protesters clash in Ferguson


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