Society

Alton Sterling May Have Had A Gun Before He Was Shot

| by Michael Doherty
Alton SterlingAlton Sterling

Alton Sterling, who was fatally shot by a white police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, was reportedly carrying a gun.

Police confronted Sterling, 37, outside a Baton Rouge convenience store on July 5 after receiving an anonymous call reporting that a man in a red shirt selling CDs had threatened someone with a gun, according to the Daily Mail.

Two officers went to the scene, said Cpl. L'Jean McKneely, and had an altercation with Sterling. One officer fatally shot him, said McKneely. He added that both officers have been placed on administrative leave.

A purported video of the shooting, which happened in the early morning, shows the officers having pinned Sterling to the ground. The recording, made from a nearby car, shows Sterling struggling to escape the officers who had wrestled him to the ground, reports USA Today.

The officers are then reportedly seen pushing Sterling's head on the concrete after yelling, "He's got a gun." One of the officers then pulled what appears to be a gun out, before pointing it at Sterling's head. Seconds later, gun shots are heard on the video, and the woman filming the incident screams.

After the screen goes black in the video, a woman cried as a man asks her, "They shot him? Oh my f------ goodness."

Witnesses later told reporters Sterling was not holding a weapon when he was shot, according to The Washington Post.

The owner of the store, Abdul Muflahi, said that he saw officers remove a gun from Sterling's pocket after the shooting, USA Today reports. Muflahi said Sterling, who he had been friends with for six years, had purchased the gun a few days earlier after he heard that CD sellers had been robbed nearby.

Sterling's death has sparked demonstrations throughout the following day and night, as protestors held signs and chanted "Hands up, don't shoot," and "Black lives matter."

Democratic Rep. Cedric Richmond of Louisiana called for the Justice Department to investigate Sterling's death, adding that officials said that both of the officers had body cameras "but they fell off during the struggle and do not show the shooting."

"His family and the citizens of Baton Rouge -- especially the citizens of North Baton Rouge -- deserve answers and that is what we will seek in a fair, thorough, and transparent way," said Richmond.

Source: Daily Mail, The Washington Post, USA Today / Photo credit: Facebook via NY Daily News

Were the officers acting in self-defense?
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