POLICE SAY MICHAEL BROWN, far left, who was unarmed when he was fatally shot by a Ferguson police officer, fit the description of a suspect in a store robbery, near left, which was called in minutes before the shooting.
The unarmed black teenager who was fatally shot by a police officer in a St. Louis suburb, fit the description of a suspect in a strong-arm robbery that happened minutes earlier, a suburban St. Louis police chief said at a Friday press conference at which the officer was publicly identified for the first time.
Ferguson, Mo., Police Chief Thomas Jackson said that the robbery took place just before noon on Saturday at a nearby convenience store roughly 10 minutes before a police officer identified as Darren Wilson fired the bullet that killed Michael Brown. Police say that the shot was fired after a struggled touched off by Wilson’s confronting Brown. Jackson said Wilson is a six-year veteran with no disciplinary action on his record.
The news conference came after nearly a week of sometimes-violent protests and calls by many, including President Obama, for local law enforcement to be more transparent about the circumstances surrounding the shooting. Police previously said they withheld Wilson’s identity because of the potential for threats on the officer and his family. The officer has been on administrative leave since the shooting.
Police released still images and were planning to release video from the robbery, at a QuikTrip store in Ferguson. Jackson said Wilson, along with other officers, were called to the area after a 911 call reporting a “strong-arm robbery” at a nearby convenience store. He didn’t immediately release details about the alleged robbery, saying more information would be released later.
Jackson provided few other details about Wilson at the news conference and did not take any questions. Jackson said Swisher Sweets cigars were stolen in the robbery.
Police have said Brown was shot after an officer encountered him and another man on the street. They say one of the men pushed the officer into his squad car, then physically assaulted him in the vehicle and struggled with the officer over the officer’s weapon. At least one shot was fired inside the car before the struggle spilled onto the street, where Brown was shot multiple times, according to police.
But a much different story has been told by Dorian Johnson, who says he was walking down the street with Brown when he was shot. He has said the officer ordered them out of the street, then grabbed his friend’s neck and tried to pull him into the car before brandishing his weapon and firing. He says Brown started to run and the officer pursued him, firing multiple times.
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