Details are slowly emerging regarding the police-involved shooting death of unarmed 18-year-old Michael Brown around noon yesterday in the 2900 Block of Canfield at the Canfield Green apartment complex in Ferguson.
St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar held a press conference Sunday morning regarding the tragic incident that has garnered national attention.
According to Belmar, a Ferguson police officer had an encounter on the street with two individuals. One of the individuals was Brown’s friend, Dorin Johnson. As the police officer was exiting his vehicle, the police officer was allegedly pushed back into the car---where a struggle then ensued over the officer’s weapon.
“There was at least one shot fired inside the car,” Belmar said during the press conference Sunday morning held at the Ferguson Fire Department.
He said the officer then exited his vehicle and fatally shot Brown and that the entire scene---from approximately the car door to the shooting---is about 35 feet.
More than a few shell casings were recovered from the scene, he said stating that he can not say exactly how many times Brown was struck by gunfire.
“It was more than a couple,” he said. “But, I don’t think it was many more than that.”
Witnesses say Brown was shot at least eight times. The medical examiner began conducting an investigation today that could take as long as six weeks to complete pending toxicology results, Belmar said.
Belmar acknowledged Ferguson Police Chief Tom Jackson who was also at the press conference. Jackson “personally called me,” Belmar said, as he was arriving at the scene and asked the St. Louis County Bureau of Crimes Against Persons Unit to investigate the incident.
Belmar said Jackson’s actions are not that of someone with anything to hide.
The St. Louis County Bureau of Crimes against Persons will conduct an independent investigation.
When the investigation is complete, Belmar said, the facts and circumstances will be turned over to St. Louis County Prosecuting Attorney Robert P. McCulloch.
Belmar has spoken by phone with McCulloch who will determine whether or not charges need to be filed.
The press conference was closed to the general public. A growing crowd of emotional protesters chanted “No justice! No peace!” outside of the building.
Some have called for the F.B.I. to get involved with the investigation.
“I would imagine that there’s a chance that the F.B.I. could be involved in this,” Belmar said.
Belmar plans to reach out to the St. Louis office today, he said. It took a long time to process the scene stating that “we only get one opportunity to take a look at these scenes,” he said.
“There were a lot of folks down there,” he said. “Emotions were running very high.”
Belmar is asking the public’s help with providing any electronic footage of the incident. The unnamed police officer involved in the shooting is a six-year veteran with no prior incidents, Belmar said.
“We will be interviewing that officer more extensively today,” he said.
That officer has been placed on paid administrative leave. Before the officer can return to duty, he must first undergo two different psychological evaluations.
A candlelight vigil will be held tonight at 8 p.m. at 2943 Canfield Dr. at the Canfield Green apartment complex. A peace rally is scheduled for 10 a.m. Monday morning at the Ferguson Police Department.
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