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US: Racial unrest in St Louis after police shoot black teenager

world Updated: Aug 20, 2015 09:26 IST
Black teenager

People confront police at the scene of a shooting at Walton Avenue and Page Boulevard, where a black teenager was shot dead by cops, on Wednesday. (St Louis Post via AP Photo)

St Louis Police fatally shot a black teenager who allegedly pointed a gun at them on Wednesday and arrested three protesters, recalling racial tensions sparked by the killing of an unarmed African-American teen in nearby Ferguson, Missouri, a year ago.

St Louis Police chief Sam Dotson said the shooting took place late morning as officers were carrying out a search warrant and two young black men ran out the back door of the targeted house.

Officers ordered the pair to stop in the alley behind the house. One suspect pointed a gun at officers who then fired four times, killing him, Dotson said.

Reuters video showed dozens of protesters blocking a nearby intersection shortly after the shooting, monitored by police. Three people were arrested for blocking traffic, police said.

Protesters gathered again at the intersection in the evening. NBC television affiliate KSDK reported that they threw rocks at officers, who responded with what appeared to be tear gas.

Police identified the slain suspect as Mansur Ball-Bey, 18. The second youth fled and was described in his mid-to-late teens.

Dotson told reporters Ball-Bey's gun was stolen. He said officers recovered crack cocaine at the scene.

"Detectives were looking for guns, looking for violent felons, looking for people who have been committing the crimes in the neighborhood," he said.

A 93-year-old member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a black aviation unit from World War Two, was robbed and carjacked in the neighborhood on Sunday. A woman was killed this week in the area.

St Louis Police said the officers involved in the shooting were white, aged 33 and 29, and each with about seven years on the force. They are on administrative leave.

The shooting came 10 days after St Louis was flooded with protesters marking the anniversary of the August 9 killing of an unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer.

Brown's death helped spur a nationwide movement against what protesters say is a pattern of police violence against African-Americans.

Activists were also in the area to mark the anniversary of police shooting of another black man in St Louis, Kajieme Powell.

Police say officers shot Powell when he approached them with a knife. Missouri prosecutors are reviewing the case for possible criminal charges, and Powell's family has filed a wrongful death suit.