Struggle over gun occurred before Missouri police officer shot teen Michael Brown on Saturday

By Melissa Barclay,

Michael Brown, an 18-year-old teen from St. Louis, was shot to death Saturday afternoon by a police officer following a scuffle with Brown and a second person in Ferguson, Missouri.

According to the Associated Press, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar stated that the officer encountered Brown and a friend on a street near an apartment complex. As the officer left his patrol car, one of the two men pushed the officer back in his car, and a struggle ensued. One shot was fired from inside the car and the struggle then continued into the street, where Brown was fatally shot by the officer approximately 35 feet from the patrol car.

There is a discrepancy in news reports as to whether the man who struggled with the officer was Brown or his friend. The AP reports that Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson said that what happened was still being investigated and it was unclear who actually struggled with the officer.

"The genesis of this was a physical confrontation," Belmar said during a news conference, reports CNN. During the conference, Belmar said that it was Brown who struggled with the officer in the car.

One thing that all agree on, including the St. Louis County Police Department, is the fact that Brown was unarmed.

According to CNN, witnesses say Brown’s hands were in the air at the time he was shot. Dorian Johnson, who was reportedly with Brown at the time, said the teens were told to get on the sidewalk by the officer. Johnson told KMOV that the officer shot Brown after the two exchanged words. Johnson said the officer shot Brown, and once he “felt that shot, he turned around and put his hands in the air.” He also said the officer fired several more shots after telling the two to get on the ground.

Another witness reportedly said that the police officer grabbed Brown as he was walking.

These accounts are in dispute, according to CNN.

A near-riot occurred Sunday morning following the shooting, with demonstrators raising their arms and shouting, “Don’t shoot me!” People also shouted, "We are Michael Brown," and held signs in the streets. It was reported that some people were also yelling, "Kill the police." The crowd of a few hundred eventually dispersed.

However, following a candlelight vigil Sunday evening, widespread property damage and looting was reported late into Sunday night.

Belmar said there will be a thorough investigation of the incident. The St. Louis County Police Department is in charge of the investigation, however St. Louis County Executive Charlie Dooley is going to request that the FBI conduct an investigation, reports the AP.

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder has directed monitoring of developments at this time.



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