A white off-duty policeman shot and killed a black teenager in St Louis on Wednesday, officers said, triggering a night of protests just miles from the site of another police shooting of another black youth in the suburb of Ferguson.
Police said the 18-year-old was armed and fired three shots while he was being chased by the officer, and they had recovered a gun at the scene.
The youth was killed almost two months to the day since sometimes violent protests erupted in Ferguson after a white police officer shot dead unarmed black 18-year-old Michael Brown.
On Wednesday’s shooting, the dead man was one of three people who fled after being approached by the officer, a six-year veteran of the department who was working for a private security company, St Louis Metropolitan Police Chief Sam Dotson said.
The officer, who was wearing his city police uniform, fired 17 shots at the teenager, police added.
A crowd of around 200 gathered at the scene in the south St. Louis neighbourhood of Shaw, 11 miles (18 km) south of Ferguson. Many of the protesters marched to a major thoroughfare, partially blocking traffic and chanting “Whose streets? Our streets?” as a police helicopter hovered overhead.
Teyonna Myers, 23, told the St Louis Post-Dispatch newspaper that she was the cousin of the suspect and that he was unarmed when he was killed.
“He had a sandwich in his hand, and they thought it was a gun. It’s like Michael Brown all over again,” she told the paper. Police have not named the teenager.
At one point, about a dozen people punched and kicked two occupied police vehicles, one that was marked and another that was unmarked. Demonstrators then broke the back window of a marked police vehicle.
None of the protesters, some of whom were from Ferguson, had been arrested by the early hours of Thursday, police chief Dotson told a news conference.
“I think the department showed a tremendous amount of restraint,” Dotson said.
The officer, who was not hurt, has been placed on administrative leave and an investigation was under way, police said.