ST. LOUIS ― Police on Wednesday shot and killed an armed black man while officers were attempting to execute a search warrant in a north St. Louis neighborhood.
The killing, on the one-year anniversary of another officer-involved shooting in the area, sparked fresh protests in a community near Ferguson, which itself was recently the site of unrest during protests on the anniversary of a third police killing ― that of unarmed black teen Michael Brown.
Authorities executing the search warrant Wednesday morning were met by two men attempting to flee the home, according to Fox 2 Now. Chief Sam Dotson of the St. Louis Police Department said officers ordered both armed men to drop their weapons, and that one of the suspects raised his weapon and was shot.
Both suspects then ran, with the shot man collapsing on the ground a short time later.
Police identified the deceased suspect as a black 18-year-old named Mansur Ball-Bey. The suspect who fled was said to be a black man in his mid to late teens, and police were still searching for him.
Dotson characterized the area as a "hotbed of crime," and said that the dead suspect's gun was stolen.
"There were other individuals that were in the house that were taken into custody without incident," Dotson said.
Inside the home, cops found four more guns and crack cocaine. At least three of the guns had been stolen, police said.
"What I know right now is that somebody pointed a gun at police officers," Dotson told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch.
St. Louis police said the officers involved were both white; one was 29 and the other 33; and both had served approximately seven years on the force. They have been placed on administrative leave.
The shooting drew crowds of people to the scene to protest. Dozens of police officers sought to disperse the marchers. One car was set on fire. A house fire was reported nearby, but it was unclear whether the cause was related to the protest.
Nine people were arrested in chaotic protests. Eight were charged with impeding traffic and one with resisting arrest.
The shooting occurred as the city marked the anniversary of the killing of Kajieme Powell. Powell was shot to death by police officers on Aug. 19, 2014, just over a week after Michael Brown was killed by police officer Darren Wilson in Ferguson.
At a vigil earlier in the day for Powell, protest organizer Kayla Reed said, “I sincerely believe St. Louis was chosen for everything to happen here because of the racial divide in this region, and because it’s in the heart of the country."
Just minutes after she made her comments, police shot and killed Ball-Bey. Reed and others at the vigil then protested in front of the office of St. Louis County Prosecutor Jennifer Joyce before joining other protesters at the site of Wednesday's shooting.
At the scene of the protests, Jerome Harris, 28, stood beside his 6-year-old son as he watched. Harris said he brought his son there because he wanted to “show him he can have better.”
“I just wanted to let him see what goes on in these neighborhoods. I think once he sees what goes on, it can change his belief on what he can have," Harris said. "He doesn’t have to be a subject and go through the things we go through.”
Harris said the shooting doesn’t surprise him. In 2013, he said, his brother was killed by a St. Louis police officer. “It’s close. It’s not just something that I’m witnessing, it’s something that I’ve been through,” he said.
Harris added that he doesn't really know what to believe about the shooting. "I wasn’t there. All these guys have been killed and we don’t know the story," he said. "We don’t know the truth.”