UK & World News

  • 20 August 2014, 7:03

Missouri Unrest: 'Suspect' Shot Dead By Police

A "knife-wielding" suspect has been shot dead by police in north St Louis, some four miles from Ferguson, where an unarmed black teenager was killed by an officer, setting off days of unrest.

The suspect, identified as a 23-year-old African-American male, was approached by officers following reports of a convenient shop robbery and a "man with a knife acting erratically", police said.

"As officers arrived, the suspect turned towards the officers and started to walk towards them, clutching his waistband," St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters.

"He then pulled out a knife in what we describe as an overhand grip, and told the officers: 'Shoot me now, kill me now'".

The suspect ignored verbal commands to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers, coming "within three to four feet" before two policemen opened fire, Chief Dotson said.

The suspect was pronounced dead at the scene.

The officers, who were not identified, have been placed on administrative duty pending an investigation.

It follows several days of unrest in the wake of the police shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown.

Scores of local residents descended on the scene, about four miles south east ofCanfield Drive, where Mr Brown was shot at least six times by Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson on August 9.

The area north of downtown St Louis has been the scene of daily protests since the teen's death.

Police have deployed tear gas and stun grenades in recent nights as peaceful protests turned violent after nightfall.

Authorities said protesters have thrown bottles and Molotov cocktails at lines of police put in place to quell looting and violence in the neighbourhood.

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon called in the National Guard to try to restore order to Ferguson, a town of about 21,000 people that is overwhelmingly African-American.

Mr Brown's mother, Lesley McSpadden, told NBC News on Tuesday that the "violence needs to stop".

Funeral services for her son have been planned for August 25, according to Brown family attorney Benjamin Crump.

The exact time and location for the memorial has not been finalised, he said.

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