Shooting of Antonio Martin
|Date||December 23, 2014|
|Location||Berkeley, Missouri, U.S.|
The shooting of Antonio Martin occurred on December 23, 2014, in Berkeley, Missouri, a suburb of St. Louis. Martin, an 18-year-old black male, was fatally shot by a white Berkeley police officer when Martin pulled a gun on him. The shooting sparked protests in the St. Louis area and other cities in the U.S. The shooting elicited comparison to the earlier shooting death of Michael Brown two miles away in Ferguson, Missouri.
On the night of December 23, 2014, a Berkeley Police Department officer responded to an employee's emergency phone call report at 11:11 pm of shoplifting by two men at a Mobil On the Run convenience store along the 6800 block of North Hanley Road. An unidentified officer arrived at 11:15 p.m. in his police cruiser and saw two men just outside the store who matched the description of the suspects.
The shooting happened in a parking lot outside a Mobil gas station. The police officer was not wearing a body camera and there were no shots fired by the teen's gun. As the officer fired, he fell to the ground while running away, which was caught on video by the store's security cameras. One of the shots fired by the officer struck Martin, another struck the tire of the officer's vehicle, and the third is unaccounted for.
Footage of the incident was captured by surveillance cameras outside the convenience store. According to police, several witness' accounts back up the officer's story that Martin was first to draw his weapon. The officer said he was not wearing the body camera he had been issued earlier that day. The police car's dash-camera was likely not recording at the time.
The officer is identified as a 34-year-old white male, and a six-year veteran of the department. He had previously Served with the Country Club Hills, Missouri Police Department. He is represented by attorney Brian Millikan who also represents St. Louis police officer Jason Flanery in the October killing of VonDeritt Myers.
Despite complaints about the timeliness of medical attention to arrive, paramedics arrived six minutes after the shooting. Martin was declared dead, and his body covered, by 11:28 p.m. A crowd of onlookers and protesters gathered at the scene within 20 minutes of the shooting. The county crimes against persons unit arrived at 12:15 a.m. As the crowd grew angry, protesters clashed with law enforcement working to protect the scene for investigators collecting evidence. The crowd grew to an estimated 300 people as tensions escalated. Some threw rocks and other projectiles at them.
Media crews and surveillance video recorded an individual lighting fires with lighter fluid inside and outside the same store when looters broke in. Police say 19-year-old Joshua Williams of St. Louis was the individual. Williams, a frequently quoted advocate for peace in the aftermath of the Michael Brown shooting, was charged days later with arson in the first degree, a felony; felony burglary and misdemeanor stealing. On video Williams confessed to police of lighting the fires. Four others were arrested for assault-related offenses. Martin's body was removed from the crime scene at around 1:40 a.m. Several protesters lingered at the site throughout the night.
Police were seeking the unidentified second suspect who fled the scene as a "person of interest". Two other bystanders at the scene were identified as witnesses. Martin's girlfriend was among those at the scene at the time of the shooting.
The night after the incident, dozens of people, including Martin's mother and stepfather, gathered near the scene where Martin was killed to chant and protest. Some in the group broke away to block traffic on the nearby Interstate 170. Law enforcement attempted to subdue the protesters with pepper spray. At least two were arrested.
- Byers, Christine (25 December 2014). "St. Louis region on edge in wake of fatal police shooting in Berkeley". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Lowery, Wesley (30 December 2014). "Police: Multiple witnesses say Antonio Martin pulled gun on officer". The Washington Post. Retrieved 26 April 2015.
However, city officials insisted that paramedics arrived at the scene of the shooting approximately six minutes after the shooting – and had declared Martin dead, covering his body, by 11:28 p.m.
- Gambino, Lauren (December 30, 2014). "Antonio Martin pointed handgun at officer who feared for his life, police say" – via www.theguardian.com.
- Byers, Christine (24 December 2014). "Attorney: Berkeley officer 'shaken' by fatal shooting". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Deere, Stephen (31 December 2014). "Berkeley officials: Man killed by police had pointed gun at officer". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 31 December 2014.
Martin never fired the weapon, a Hi-Point 9 mm semi-automatic pistol found near him, police said.
- Staff (24 December 2014). "Protesters confront police at site where Berkeley officer killed suspect who pulled gun". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 25 December 2014.
- Christine Byers; Michele Munz (28 December 2014). "Protester who advocates peace charged with setting fire at Berkeley QT". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 28 December 2014.
St. Louis County police arrested Joshua Williams, 19, of St. Louis, on Friday after several local media outlets and store surveillance captured images of him trying to set a pile of wood on fire outside the QuikTrip on North Hanley Road early Wednesday.
- Mitch Smith; Monica Davey (24 December 2014). "Cautions Against Ferguson Comparisons After Officer Kills Black Teenager". New York Times. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
The second man in the images fled, the police said, and was being sought on Wednesday.
- Thorsen, Leah (25 December 2014). "Quiet protest at St. Louis Cathedral targets police killings". St. Louis Post-Dispatch. Retrieved 25 December 2014.