The mayor of the St. Louis suburb where a teenager was shot and killed Tuesday after authorities claim he pointed a gun at an officer called for calm Wednesday and sought to distance the incident from the police-involved shooting in nearby Ferguson.
Authorities claim that a man pointed a gun at an officer who was at a Mobil gas station in Berkeley during a “routine business check” and, “fearing for his life,” St. Louis County Police said in a statement, “fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him.”
The police department did not immediately confirm the man’s identity, but a woman identified him to the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as her 18-year-old son, Antonio Martin. “This doesn’t make any sense for them to kill my son like this,” Toni Martin-Green told the newspaper Wednesday morning. “I am trying to be calm.”
At a news conference later in the morning, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins spoke out to both urge local residents to await the findings of an investigation and avoid jumping to conclusions about the shooting. “We are different from the city of Ferguson,” Hoskins said, adding that he is confident in Berkeley’s roughly 30-strong police force.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) also advocated for calm in the wake of the shooting. “Particularly during this season that so many Americans hold sacred, the NAACP is calling for patience and peace as the circumstances of Mr. Martin’s death are thoroughly investigated,” said Cornell William Brooks, the association’s president and CEO.
Ferguson has been the scene of unrest since August when white police officer Darren Wilson shot and killed unarmed black teenager Michael Brown, prompting months of protest over police brutality and poor relations between law enforcement officials and communities of color. A grand jury declined to indict Wilson in the killing, reigniting tensions.
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