A police officer has reportedly shot and killed another black teenager in the St. Louis Area. The victim of the shooting has been identified as 18-year-old Antonio Martin.
According to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Antonio Martin, 18, was shot at about 11:15 p.m. on Dec. 23, at the Mobil gas station in the Berkeley suburb of St. Louis, Mo., only about two miles from Ferguson, Mo.
The victim’s mother, Toni Martin, confirmed that her son was shot by police.
The hashtag #AntonioMartin is currently trending on Twiter. Twitter users, including witnesses, have been posting comments, photos and videos.
Some of the images show the victim’s mother, Toni Martin, grieving after learning that her son had been shot dead. She was heard crying, “That is my baby.”
Information about the details of the incident is still scanty. But tweets and images posted to Twitter show crowds gathering at the scene. Live streams showed that tension was rising at the gas station. The atmosphere appeared volatile with people challenging police to explain why the teenager was shot. Some people at the scene reportedly broke through police tape.
Black Santa @greghoward88 3m3 minutes ago
We know the excuses. we know he’ll be big and scary. We know there will no indictment. We know it’ll happen again and again. #AntonioMartin
Brianna. @gxldpevrls 5m5 minutes ago Georgia, US
A lot of people are saying that the police planted the gun at the scene of #AntonioMartin’s shooting.
Cari Luna @cari_luna 14m14 minutes ago
Another black child shot dead in the street. This country is sick to its very core, and I don’t know how or if we can fix it. #AntonioMartin
According to reports, there was a gun at the scene, suggesting that the victim was armed. But several Twitter users have been alleging that the first pictures of the scene snapped by witnesses did not show a gun. Witnesses also said the teenager was alive for several minutes after he was shot.
Backstage Rider @BackstageRider 50m50 minutes ago
“That’s my baby” – #AntonioMartin’s mom screaming over and over again. Witnesses say he was alive breathing for nearly 30+min, no ambulance
The Huffington Post spoke through direct Twitter messages with Jesus Christo, 18, who claimed he was with Martin when he was shot. He claimed that an officer stopped them, saying that they fit the description of recent robbery suspects. Martin refused when the officer demanded to search them, according to Christo.
“The officer then stepped back and drew his weapon and pointed at Antonio and told us to lay on the ground. 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.”
It could soon be possible to confirm Christo’s story from security camera footage. According to reports, the gas station likely had security cameras focused on the parking lot where the incident apparently happened.
UPDATE: The Huffington Post has since issued a “correction,” casting doubt on Chriso’s account and claim that he was with the victim when he was shot: “Police have released statements saying the second person involved in the incident has fled the scene, the source [i.e. Christo] is now suggesting he was never there.”
The victim’s mother reportedly said that her son was with his girlfriend when he was fatally shot. The girlfriend reportedly remained at the scene for several minutes but refused to answer reporters’ questions.
Finn Collom @FinnCollom 16m16 minutes ago Berkeley, CA
#AntonioMartin. Another black man killed. Another hashtag. Another legal proceeding. Another nightmare.
Chris @AnonMastaOfMp3s 30m30 minutes ago
Police literally planted a gun after erecting barriers. nobody noticed a gun until cops hid the body and spot of shooting #AntonioMartin
Medical examiners were seen at the scene. But the St. Louis Police Department has so far declined to comment on the incident or release a statement.
According to Twitter users who posted reports about the incident, Martin attended Jennings Senior High School in St. Louis, Missouri.
UPDATE: Berkeley Police Department spokesperson Sergeant Brian Schellman, has released a statement:
“The St. Louis County Police Department is conducting an investigation into a shooting death involving a Berkeley, Missouri police officer.
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, we cannot confirm the identity of the deceased subject. The investigation is on-going and further details will be provided as the investigation proceeds.”