Berkeley, Missouri Police have released a statement in the shooting death of black teenager Antonio Martin.
While the statement does not mention Martin by name, only referring to him as “the deceased,” media reports have linked the statement and the shooting death of Martin.
Early on December 24, Sergeant Brian Schellman, a public information coordinator for the Berkeley Police Department had this to say.
“At approximately 11:15 PM on December 23, 2014, a police officer with the City of Berkeley was conducting a routine business check at the Mobile Gas Station located at 6800 N. Hanley when he observed two male subjects on the side of the building. The Berkeley Police Officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer. Fearing for his life, the Berkeley Officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene. The Berkeley Police Department requested the St. Louis County Police Department’s Crimes Against Persons Unit to handle the investigation. St. Louis County Police Detectives have recovered the deceased subject’s handgun at the scene. At this time, I cannot confirm the identity of the deceased subject. The investigation is ongoing and further details will follow later this morning as they become available.”
— Chris Shepherd (@ChrisShepherd) December 24, 2014
Jesus Christo, a man claiming to be Antonio Martin’s friend, had a markedly different version of the incident. “I can’t believe my best friend just died in front of me,” he tweeted. In later comments to the Huffington Post, he had this to say. Christo said that the officer approached him and Martin, saying that they fit descriptions of recent robbery suspects. “The officer then stepped back and drew his weapon and pointed at Antonio and told us to lay on the ground,” Christo said via Twitter direct message. “I layed [sic] down but Antonio Refused [sic].”
“The officer then began to step back from us with his gun still aimed at us. He told Antonio to lay down once again and when Antonio didn’t lay down the officer opened fire. And when I tried to get up to help my friend he screamed at me to stay down with his weapon still drawn.”
Earliest account I’ve found of what happened tonight. #AntonioMartin pic.twitter.com/iCPPBFtJNz — Shaun King (@ShaunKing) December 24, 2014
— NBC News (@NBCNews) December 24, 2014
UPDATE AS OF 7:09AM: Huffington Post was duped in their conversations with the alleged friend of Antonio Martin. The statement from “Jesus Christo” was a hoax, and the reporter responsible for the misinformation has issued an apology via Twitter.
I was misled and made a foolish error. Thank you all for pointing this out. I am correcting the story to reflect as much.
— Sebastian Murdock (@SebastianMurdoc) December 24, 2014
UPDATE AS OF 7:23AM: St. Louis Police have released video of the suspect pointing a gun at the officer. Watch upper left hand corner of surveillance tape.
Do you think the media bares responsibility for issues like the Ferguson riots, and now, the Antonio Martin case, spiraling out of control? Sound off in our comments section.
[Image via AP Photo/St. Louis Post-Dispatch, David Carson]