UK & World News

  • 16 August 2014, 7:31

Missouri Teen 'Robbed Shop' Before He Was Shot

An unarmed black teenager shot dead by an officer was a suspect in a "strong-arm" robbery minutes before the fatal confrontation, say police.

Michael Brown, 18, allegedly stole cigars and shoved a clerk at a convenience store in suburban St Louis last Saturday, just before he was killed by a police officer, sparking almost a week of disorder.

Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson released the police reports and documents on Friday morning as he named the officer who carried out the shooting.

Darren Wilson, who has six years' service and no disciplinary record, is on administrative leave following the incident.

According to the police reports, Mr Brown wassuspected of taking a $48.99box of Swisher Sweet Cigars from a store in Ferguson that morning.

Chief Jackson said Officer Wilson encountered Mr Brown about 10 minutes after the robbery, at around 12:01pm.

But the officer was unaware that Mr Brown was a suspect in the store incident, Chief Jackson said later.

He stopped Mr Brown because the teenand his friend were walking in the street blocking traffic, saidChief Jackson.

In a statement, the Brown family excoriated the police's "devious" attempt to "assassinate the character" of their son.

"There is nothing based on the facts that have been placed before us that can justify the execution stylemurder of their child by this police officer," they said.

Chief Jackson said: "My heart goes out to the family", adding that the incident had also been "devastating" for Officer Wilson.

Police have previously said the officer at the centre of the investigation opened fire after he was pushed into his squad car by one of two men he encountered on the street.

They then assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over his weapon, according to Ferguson police.

A shot was fired inside the car before Mr Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.

Dorian Johnson, 22, who was with Mr Brown as he allegedly robbed the store, has been tellingmedia a different version of events.

He said the officer ordered him and Mr Brown to stop walking in the street, then tried to pull Mr Brown into the squad car before taking out his weapon and firing while the teen had his hands up.

Mr Johnson was determined not to have participated in the store robbery, Chief Jacksonsaid.

The developments emerged the morning after hundreds of protesters marched peacefully side by side with officers in a dramatic turnabout, following a law enforcement facelift in Ferguson.

Gone were the officers in riot gear and armoured tanks as Missouri State Highway Patrol and its black captain Ron Johnson were appointed to take over security.

However, St Louis County Police said on Friday that Governor Jay Nixon's decision to remove their command authority in Ferguson did not improve safety.

An officer was hit by a brick, a news photographer was assaulted, a person was shot and a McDonald's nearly broken into, all on Thursday night, it said.