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Man With A Knife Fatally Shot By Police In St. Louis, Officials Say

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson talks to a crowd about the shooting Tuesday.
Joe Raedle
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Getty Images
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson talks to a crowd about the shooting Tuesday.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police shot and killed a man about 4 miles from the suburb of Ferguson, where people have been rallying since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9.

The knife-wielding 23-year-old was "acting erratically," Police Chief Sam Dotson said in a news conference. He said two officers drew their weapons and "gave verbal commands," and that the man approached police "in a threatening manner with a knife in an overhand posture."

Stephanie Lecci of St. Louis Public Radio says this appears to be an "isolated incident," not connected to the protests in neighboring Ferguson.

Here's a summary of the events, according to Dotson (and reported by Lecci on All Things Considered):

-- Two calls were made: one by a convenience store owner who said a man had stolen items from his store and was then pacing up and down the street with a knife; another by a St. Louis alderwoman who described a man talking to himself, walking in the street, armed.

-- Two officers responded to the calls, initially approaching the suspect without drawing their weapons.

-- Then the suspect grabbed a knife from his waistband and told the officers, "Shoot me now. Kill me now." The officers gave verbal warnings and drew their weapons when they saw the knife.

-- The man did not comply with orders to drop the weapon and move back. When he came within 3 to 4 feet of one of the officers, both officers fired and killed the suspect.

Dotson defended the officers' actions, saying they have a right to defend themselves and that 3 to 4 feet is within lethal range.

Lecci says witnesses are still being interviewed by police.

NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis says a crowd had gathered in the area "within an hour of the shooting ... chanting 'Hands up! Don't shoot!' " It also reports:

"Alderman Antonio French told NewsChannel 5 he has talked to the community gathering at the scene and reminded them this isn't Ferguson, and implored them not to act violently."

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Dana Farrington is a digital editor coordinating online coverage on the Washington Desk — from daily stories to visual feature projects to the weekly newsletter. She has been with the NPR Politics team since President Trump's inauguration. Before that, she was among NPR's first engagement editors, managing the homepage for NPR.org and the main social accounts. Dana has also worked as a weekend web producer and editor, and has written on a wide range of topics for NPR, including tech and women's health.