In the hopes of quelling passions before they grow any more heated, St. Louis County police have released a surveillance video of the final seconds before Antonio Martin, a black teen, was shot Tuesday night by a Berkeley, Mo., police officer who maintained that the youth raised and pointed a handgun at him.
The Guardian reports:
Jon Belmar, chief of the St Louis county police, released the video at a press conference hours afterwards in the hope of defusing the tension. Describing the sequence of events at a gas station in Berkeley, a suburb of St Louis, he said that the officer had been in “imminent danger” and had used “what he felt was appropriate force at that time” by firing at the suspect across the hood of the car.
He said the officer fired probably three shots, one of which hit the suspect, one the front tire of his vehicle. As he shot, he stumbled backwards and fell. The suspect, Belmar said, appeared not to have discharged the gun he was allegedly pointing.
Though only one surveillance video has been released so far, the gas station is understood to have several cameras mounted at different locations. The police officer, who was acting alone, was also understood to have a body camera and a camera mounted on the dash of his police vehicle, though Belmar indicated neither was recording.
As for “defusing the tension,” that ship may have already sailed. Station KMOV notes that a convenience store near where the shooting took place was set on fire early Wednesday … but not before the business was looted:
A News 4 photographer saw people breaking the glass doors to the store and walk out with items.