Just days after two NYPD officers were brutally executed in broad daylight in what is said to be a retaliation for the deaths of Michael Brown and Eric Garner, overnight, amazingly, just miles away from the St. Louis suburb of Ferguson where Michael Brown was shot in August, an 18 year-old black man was shot and killed by police at a gas station in the St. Louis suburb of Berkley late on Tuesday, in a development that is certain to inflame racial, and local police department, tensions even further beyond their breaking point.
As Reuters reports, "police said the man had pointed a handgun at an officer who approached him and another man outside a gas station where the officer was "conducting a routine business check" in the suburb of Berkeley. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him," St. Louis County Police Department spokesman Brian Schellman said in a statement. The second man fled the scene."
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch named the dead man as 18-year-old Antonio Martin, citing his mother.
The police said they could not confirm his identity.
As was to be expected, promptly thereafter a live video feed showed the gas station cordoned off by yellow tape and guarded by police, some in helmets and carrying riot shields, with bystanders shouting at them in a tense standoff.
And just like in the Michael Brown shooting, the theories of what happened have already been presented as fact:
"He only just left the house to go see his girlfriend. Maybe he started to run and they got shooting," she said, adding that she did not think her son was carrying a gun. Toni Martin — who said her son's girlfriend had told her about the shooting and brought her to the scene — told reporters Antonio had turned 18 in September and used to attend nearby Jennings High School.
As NBC observes, subsequent to the shooting on early Wednesday, an angry crowd of about 200 gathered in Berkeley near the gas station and clashed with police as a body lay covered on the ground.
"I can see about 50 cop cars, they're fighting and scuffling, the highway is blocked with cars, people are being arrested," said photographer Bradley Rayford. "Trash cans are on fire." A small fire began at a QuikTrip across the street from the Mobil but quickly went out, said John Henry, reporter with NBC affiliate KDSK. Fireworks were set off near patrol cars and in the Mobil parking lot. St Louis police said an investigation had begun into the shooting.
The clip below shows the tense situation in Berkeley which is sure to deteriorate and escalate once more:
In retrospect when we reported that "Ferguson [and other near-insolvent cities] plan to boost revenue from public-safety fines" and in the process anger locals and flare tempers even more as America's broke inner-cities scramble to fill empty coffers, as we explained in "And The Winner In The "Worst Idea At The Wrong Time" Category Is..." was precisely that. Sadly, there is no clear or easy solution to a problem that fundamentally cuts at the core of everything that is currently broken in America.