A St. Louis police officer who had just completed monitoring a Black Lives Matter protest against police shooting of black men shot a black male armed robber in the act of robbing a Kentucky Fried Chicken.
The unidentified sergeant, a 42-year-old who is a 13-year veteran of the force, came within a few feet of the suspect as he approached the restaurant to investigate a report of a robbery-in-progress, the officer’s attorney, Brian Millikan, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. As the suspect pointed his gun at the officer, the sergeant yelled, “Don’t do it! Don’t do it! Don’t do it!” Millikan said.
“If he didn’t take action, the suspect was going to shoot him,” Millikan said. “He didn’t have any choice.”
The officer was not injured during the incident.
Millikan said the officer was at a gas station near the restaurant at about 6 p.m. when he was flagged down by a witness who reported the attempted robbery. The sergeant had just finished monitoring a Martin Luther King Jr. memorial march where Black Lives Matter activists were protesting police shootings, according to the Post-Dispatch.
“These marches are at the forefront of just about every policeman’s mind and nobody thinks they’re ever going to be the ones that will be involved in something like this,” Millikan said.
The officer fired two shots at close range when the suspect wouldn’t drop the gun. Both shots struck the 52-year-old suspect, who died at the scene. Cash from the robbery and the suspects weapon were recovered as evidence, and the shooting was recorded on security cameras. The officer was not equipped with a body camera, which are still being tested in St. Louis as part of a pilot program. Witnesses seem to corroborate the officer’s account of the shooting and the security camera footage.
It is unknown at this time whether Black Lives Matter will protest the shooting.