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Tensions run high after cop shoots, kills suspect in south St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- An off-duty police officer fatally shot an 18-year-old man who opened fire during a chase in south St. Louis, police said Thursday. Demonstrations followed the shooting.

St. Louis Police Chief Col. Sam Dotson said the 32-year-old officer was patrolling the Shaw neighborhood for a private security company late Wednesday when the shooting happened.

The officer said three men in the street ran away when they spotted him, Dotson said during a news conference early Thursday. The way that one of the men ran - grabbing at his waistband, slightly lopsided - indicated he was carrying a weapon, so the officer chased him, Dotson said.

The man turned and fired at the officer, who returned fire and killed him, the police chief said.

Ballistic evidence recovered from the scene indicates that the man fired three rounds at the officer before his weapon jammed, Dotson said, adding that the gun was also recovered.

The officer fired 17 shots, Dotson said. He said he didn't know how many hit the suspect or why the officer fired that many shots.

"An investigation will decide if the officer's behavior was appropriate," he said at police headquarters.

People who described themselves as relatives of the dead man told The St. Louis Post Dispatch he was not armed.

Dotson described the officer as a six-year veteran of the St. Louis Police Department, and said the man who was killed was 18 years old and black.

He didn't name either man.

People began to gather at the scene near the Missouri Botanical Garden shortly after the shooting, reports CBS St. Louis affiliate KMOV-TV. Family members of the victim on the scene were crying. Others at the scene yelled threats at officers.

Some people shouted "Hands up, don't shoot" -- a reference to the fatal shooting in August of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson. That shooting led to weeks of sometimes violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb. Officer Darren Wilson has not been charged in the shooting.

Dotson said some in the crowd shouted obscenities at officers and damaged police cars, but that the officers "showed great restraint."

He added, "Any police officer use of force certainly will draw attention."

KMOV reporter Julian Johnson says some members of the crowd approached police in an aggressive manner and started chanting. He also saw several people following officers and getting in officers' faces.

Around 10:40p, Johnson says, he heard several shots fired. It's not known who fired them, but police say it wasn't them.

No demonstrators were arrested and by 1 a.m., the crowd had largely dispersed.

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