An 18-year-old boy who died after being shot 17 times by an off-duty police officer in St. Louis had gunshot residue on his hands and clothing, according to crime lab results that were released on Tuesday, reports Yahoo News.
The killing of Vonderrit Myers sparked nights of violent protests in the city by people who demanded justice for the teen – in an incident that took place just two months after teen Michael Brown was fatally shot by a cop in Ferguson.
Police say that after Myers and two of his friends were stopped by the off-duty cop, whose name has not been released, he pulled out a firearm and shot at the officer at least three times. They also claim they recovered his gun from the scene the following day. Myers’ family and friends denied he had a weapon and say the officer mistook a sandwich he was carrying for a gun.
The St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department released a statement after the lab results returned saying gunshot residue found on Myers’ hands, jeans and T-shirt could mean that he either fired a gun, was next to someone who fired a gun, or touched something containing gun residue, reports CNN. But police say the residue could also appear on a person who is shot at close range.
Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, says the fact that police are being transparent with the lab results proves they are trying to work with the public.
“We saw in the wake of the Michael Brown Ferguson shooting that there was a public outcry, fueled largely by agitators in Ferguson where they demanded that police immediately release details,” Roorda said. “That happened in this case. Police immediately, as information became apparent and known to them, released these facts … Even with that, we still saw violence in the street.”
More than 50 protesters were reportedly arrested in St. Louis and its suburbs on Monday. Police say most of the protests were peaceful and that activists got themselves arrested in order to make a statement.
Photo Credit: St. Louis Metropolitan Police Department, Wikipedia