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Police: Officer fatally shoots armed man in town near Ferguson, Missouri

Posted at 8:08 AM, Dec 24, 2014

BERKELEY, Missouri — A police officer shot and killed an armed man late Tuesday in Berkeley, Missouri, said St. Louis County police spokesman Brian Schellman.

Berkeley is a St. Louis suburb that borders on the city of Ferguson, where the controversial shooting of black teen Michael Brown by a white police officer in August triggered nationwide protests.

Demonstrators appeared after Tuesday’s shooting, and there was a scuffle, but the crowd thinned out before daybreak.

In Tuesday’s shooting, the deceased man’s mother, Toni Martin, identified him as 18-year-old Antonio Martin.

Police say the officer shot him in self-defense.

The officer with the City of Berkeley Police Department had encountered two men during a routine check at a Mobil gas station, Schellman said. He got out of his squad car and approached them.

One of the men pointed a gun at the officer, who fired multiple times at him, fatally wounding him. The second man fled, police said.

Gun, body

Later, yellow markers were placed around the scene at the gas station. Next to one of them was a handgun lying in the parking lot, video from CNN affiliate KMOV showed.

Schellman said that the killed man’s handgun was recovered at the scene.

Feet away from the weapon, a body lay covered up. It was later placed on a stretcher and loaded into the back of a van.

The gas station appeared to be outfitted with surveillance cameras, which were pointed at the parking lot.

Berkeley police asked St. Louis County police to handle the investigation of the shooting.

County police are planning to hold a news conference on Wednesday and are considering releasing some surveillance video from the scene.

Mother speaks

Toni Martin told KMOV that her son had gone to see his girlfriend, who lived near the station, and was with her at the time of the shooting. She said the girlfriend notified her of her son’s shooting.

Martin said her son turned 18 in September. He had been expelled from school but was trying to get his life back together, she said, and she was encouraging him to join Job Corps.

Video posted to Vimeo showed Toni Martin crying in the arms of other people.

The deceased teen’s father, Jerome Green, also said Antonio Martin had said he was going out to meet his girlfriend and had not mentioned any other person who might be with them.

“He was supposed to come home,” Green said. “We’re getting ready for holiday; everyone wanted to see him. My grandmother hadn’t seen him for a while.”

Green said that Martin lived with his parents, together with a brother and a sister.

Protest, scuffle

Protesters gathered around an ethnically diverse group of dozens of police officers, who stood between them and the scene. People in the crowd screamed at police. Others spoke more calmly.

St. Louis Post-Dispatch photographer David Carson told CNN’s Hala Gorani that some of the protesters damaged police cars. CNN showed images of one squad car with a large dent in its side.

A scuffle broke out, and officers grabbed some of the demonstrators and led them off in handcuffs.

“At one point, an explosive device, like a large firecracker or firework, was thrown into the middle of the fight and exploded. That kind of scattered a lot of people,” Carson said.

Video posted to YouTube showed two smoking objects flying toward the station, where police stood. One of them emitted white smoke, while the other exploded.

KMOV video showed a white plume rising at another location down the street.

Among the protesters were ministers and people who had participated in Ferguson demonstrations after Brown’s shooting death, the Post-Dispatch reported.

Before sunup, protesters thinned out, and those remaining stood calmly behind police tape.

CNN’s John Branch, Sara Ganim and Rick Martin contributed to this report.