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Ferguson redux? Police officer shoots, kills black man

Ferguson redux? Police officer shoots, kills black man

Protests, again.

[UPDATE: An image purporting to be a police report of this shooting event was linked in the comments. I have embedded that image below–thanks Ras.  I can not personally attest to its provenance, but it appears to be of a form I would expect of an actual police report for such an incident.]

It’s deja vu all over again.

A St. Louis police officer working off duty for a private security company shot and killed a black man yesterday.  Protestors gathered quickly, raising concerns of more rioting, looting, and arson threats similar to those that erupted following the shooting of Mike Brown in Ferguson, MO. (h/t @nadraenzi)

Fox news reports that while working private security the officer approached three men, who ran away. The officer chased one of them, and a physical struggle ensued.  Police officials report that the chased man then presented a pistol and fired three rounds at the officer before his handgun failed.  There are no reports that any of the shots struck the officer.

The officer’s handgun was made of more reliable stuff, and he fired 17 rounds at his attacker, mortally wounding him.

The Fox article goes on to report:

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that people claiming to be relatives of the victim identified him as 18-year-old Vonderrit Myers, Jr. The teenager’s mother, Syreeta Myers, told The Associated Press by phone Thursday that her son was holding a sandwich when the officer killed him Wednesday night.

[ . . . ]

Hours after the shooting, a crowd gathered at the scene. Some people shouted “Hands up, don’t shoot” in reference to the fatal shooting in August of an unarmed black man, Michael Brown, by a white police officer. That shooting in Ferguson led to weeks of sometimes violent unrest in the St. Louis suburb. Officer Darren Wilson has not been charged in the shooting.

Dotson said some in the crowd late Wednesday shouted obscenities toward officers and damaged police cars. Officers, however, “showed great restraint,” he said.

[ . . . ]

KTVI reported that some protesters were seen hitting police vehicles and shots were heard in the area. The station also reported that police largely backed off to give the protesters space.

No demonstrators were arrested and by 1 a.m. Thursday the crowd had largely dispersed.

State officials and local community activists have already requested that the Department of Justice investigate the shooting.

Interestingly, it seems that St. Louis area police are regularly presented with the need to make use of their sidearms:

It was the third fatal police-involved shooting in the St. Louis area since Brown’s death. On Aug. 19, Kajieme Powell, 25, was shot by St. Louis city officers after moving toward them with a knife while telling them, “Shoot me now. Kill me now.” Both officers fired six shots each. Powell died at the scene.

On Sept. 17, officers shot and killed a 42-year-old man in the St. Louis County town of Jennings after the suspect allegedly slammed his vehicle into two police vehicles before pointing a rifle at officers.

Should be an interesting weekend in St. Louis, MO.  Anybody know when the weather starts getting cold over there?

Here’s the image of the police report mentioned in the update at the top of this post:

St. Louis Police report Vonderrit Myers

–-Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

Andrew F. Branca is an MA lawyer and the author of the seminal book “The Law of Self Defense, 2nd Edition,” available at the Law of Self Defense blog (autographed copies available) and (paperback and Kindle). He also holds Law of Self Defense Seminars around the country, and provides free online self-defense law video lectures at the Law of Self Defense Institute and podcasts through iTunes, Stitcher, and elsewhere.


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It’s generally not a good idea for off duty officers to work private security. They tend to confuse their roles.

In the photo, a protester is wearing a t-shirt emblazoned with the slogan “demilitarize the police”.
How about “demilitarize the criminals”?

funny how he held onto that sandwich while running. some pretty strong bread. must not be white bread…..

nordic_prince | October 9, 2014 at 6:42 pm

Amazing – the teenager who was shot has the same surname as his mother. What are the odds of that happening?

another thug decided to play with the bull and got the horns … the black communities racism will be on full display by this weekend …

So the lesson is if you’re being shot at by a black guy you just have to accept it and do nothing because, racism, or something?

I am willing, at this early point, to give the police the benefit of the doubt, though the number of shots does seem a bit high. Still, it is not a healthy idea to shoot at the police. The forensics are either going to back up the account of the officer, or refute it. Myers either had GSR on him, or didn’t, that handgun either was fired or it wasn’t, and if it was, likely either his finger prints are on it, or they aren’t. This is well enough know to the police, and they know that they are under scrutiny, so right now I doubt that the firearm was planted on the decedent, Myers.

    If somebody instigated and fired first at me, I think I’d empty my clip, too.

    Ragspierre in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 9, 2014 at 7:32 pm

    According to accounts, the pistol used by the dead idiot was a Ruger. Which is not a throw-down gun. He’d had a prior firearms offense.

    He was hit five times…maybe seven. The confusion is caused by the possibility that entry wounds were actually exit wounds.

    If anybody forces me to fire on them, they get shot until I know they are not dangerous to me. If I have to reload twice and they are reduced to ground meat, that is tough.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Ragspierre. | October 9, 2014 at 11:08 pm

      If I have to reload twice and they are reduced to ground meat, that is tough.

      If they are reduced to ground meat they won’t be tough. Jus sain.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to Ragspierre. | October 10, 2014 at 1:52 am

      Initial reports said Ruger, but that was later changed to Smith& Wesson.

      Someone pointed out what seems to be obvious. They steal the guns. Then they can’t figure out what ammo, so they load the wrong kind. The first three were probably all ready in the gun. Then he put in appropriate ammo causing the gun to jam when it gets to that ammo.

      Here’s a basic fact about gangbangers. They like to talk tough. They love to wave around guns and shoot them. But they are too stupid to learn about them and they are too lazy to take care of them.


    Count the number of rounds fired to being scared. An officer involved with a shooting on my department a few years ago was asked “How many times did you fire?” and he said “Five or six”. The investigator handed him two empty 15 round magazines. You think a man is trying to kill you, you will shoot until you think you are safe.

      Bruce Hayden in reply to MikeAT. | October 10, 2014 at 6:28 am

      I suspect that is what is going to be the case. My point, I think, is that we have seen a case or so here where the last shots turned out not to be self defense. Maybe. And, I don’t think that they involved police. AB is the expert here, but I suspect that there may be a difference if the officer unloaded his entire magazine in the 3 seconds that AB apparently can, and if there were some pauses to reassess the situation. Which is, maybe to say, that if I were to assign probabilities right now, I would probably put the last shots being justified (if the first one was) at 90+%. Being a cop, may 95+%. Just not willing to go all the way to 100% until more evidence becomes available.

        “we have seen a case or so here where the last shots turned out not to be self defense”

        Could you please refresh our memories–or at least mine?

    Olinser in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 9, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    When I was in the Marines we operated on the philosophy of ‘If somebody is worth shooting once, he’s worth shooting a few more times’.

    If you’re shooting somebody trying to kill you, you shoot until he goes down and stays down. The number of shots is irrelevant – you fire until the threat is eliminated.

    C. Lashown in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 9, 2014 at 8:54 pm

    Excuse me, but since WHEN has factual evidence had anything to do with a black racial riot? Both Trayvon and the Brown teen were called children, but were more than worthy to serve in any Army in the world (physically), being called ‘children’ by the MSM and all the race hustlers pimping their deaths.

    My only complaint is with the off-duty cop. Seventeen rounds fired but only hitting his target 3-4 times! Shameful! Where did he learn to shoot his weapon, the streets of Chicago?

      Just a caution, I don’t believe we know how many shots struck the black male in this case. Based on typical LEO performancce only ~4. But maybe this cop is a good shot, and all 17 hit.

      Of course, with handgun rounds one often has no idea whether your round has hit, as such knowledge would generally be dependent on the physical response of the target. Some targets fall down when hit, others show no apparent indication at all–especially if they are hoped up on something.

      I expect the cop himself didn’t know which, if any, of his rounds were hitting. He would know the FBI >70% miss statistic, and likely assume his performance was comparable to the norm.

      In any case, as long as the threat continues to be a threat, use of force remains lawful, however many rounds it might take to neutralize that threat.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

        Bruce Hayden in reply to Andrew Branca. | October 10, 2014 at 6:44 am

        Wouldn’t you expect that 17 shots on target would take down almost anyone (using the handgun calibers typically used by the police), even if they are Big Mike Brown big? Which is why I expect that your estimate of 4 is more likely than all 17.

      MouseTheLuckyDog in reply to C. Lashown. | October 9, 2014 at 11:10 pm

      The person was running and it was night. For anyone that’s pretty good shooting. Especially when you are under fire yourself.

True story. Many years ago,a friend of mine was shot at by an individual. My friend returned fire with his .357 issue weapon. He was asked why he shot the guy 6 times. He replied- “I ran out of bullets”.

hmmm . . . not PC, but accurate.

The story sounds hinky to me …

Private security sees 3 men “ON THE STREET”, he exits the car, they run. So if he is “private security” for a firm, isn’t his jurisdiction the property of the firm he is guarding? What authority does he have “ON THE STREET”?

No suggestion of a crime, only that they ran and he gave chase, LOST THEM, found one of them (obviously the slowest one), scuffled with him … there is no report of a crime – only what I assume was the intent to question them and suspicion about their actions because they ran.

Private guard on a street, presumably public street, is going to raise questions of authority I suspect and this guard may well get his ass handed to him for overstepping and being the aggressor.

    JackRussellTerrierist in reply to MrE. | October 10, 2014 at 1:15 am

    The officer had the same duties and responsibilities working in security that he has when working for the department. That’s why they get hired for the security jobs. Some companies want a real cop, not a rent-a-rookie.

    That is the curious part of it, yes, but it’s still no reason for the one fleeing from the policeman to take out his 9mm sandwich, er, Ruger, and fire from it, and continue to attempt to fire even after it had jammed rather than say, surrender…

    But yes, I expect people to zero in on the “sensible” reaction to flee from police and then fire upon them when chased because, well, those murdering cops.

    Thanks, Rags. I’ve updated the post with that image of the purported police report.

    –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Boy – the Fox article leaves out some important details. Since the article is published today, but the police report dated yesterday, how do they miss that?

    Valerie in reply to Ragspierre. | October 9, 2014 at 8:30 pm

    Rags, the commentary on that thread at The Gateway Pundit is a hoot and a half. It seems that one of the trolls thinks that anybody who gives any credit at all to that report must approve of having cops kill unarmed black kids.

    What we have tonight in St Louis could be a lynch mob.

The FBI reports that police engaged in gunfights miss >70% of their shots fired. So, <30% hit.

That means of 17 rounds fired, perhaps 4 shots hit the attacker--and they could have hit him ANYWHERE on his body, with the VAST majority of those locations having NO affect on the attacker's ability to continue the fight.

All of the primary defensive handgun calibers (meaning, these days, mostly 9mm, 40S&W, 45ACP, but really any non-hunting round, and even most of those) are notoriously ineffective at doing their one job--stopping an unlawful deadly force aggressor as quickly as possible, preferably instantly.

In any case, the legal standard is the cop (or ANY OF US acting in lawful self-defense) is entitled to shoot as many rounds as necessary to neutralize the attack against us. That could be one round of five, or 10, or 40, or 400--as long as the unlawful deadly force threat remains, the law allows us to continue to use deadly force in our lawful efforts to defend ourselves from that threat.

As an aside, it personally takes me maybe 3 seconds to fire 17 rounds of 9mm (timing from first shot fired). If someone trying to kill me still has his firearm pointed at me at second 3.0, I'm doing a reload, and if he's STILL pointing his firearm at me, there's another 17 on the way--right up to the point where he ceases his efforts to kill me.

I intend to get home to my wife and three kids, and a murderous aggressor attempting to stop that from happening should not be surprised to hear loud noises for as long as he continues his attempt.

--Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Which is exactly what my defensive handgun instructor said. You stop shooting once the threat is gone. Period.

    He’s down, you stop. He drops his gun and runs away you stop. Until then, I’m still firing at the center of mass.

      Keep in mind, down is not necessarily out. I’ve seen plenty of dash cam of cops shot and killed by a criminal aggressor who was on the ground.

      Of course, if you end up shooting an aggressor while he’s on the ground, your narrative of innocence better explain the forensics evidence generated by such ballistics.

      –Andrew, @LawSelfDefense

    Flashback to Nanny Bloomberg and friends:

    “There shouldn’t be any rational need to have more than 7 bullets loaded in your gun at any one time.”

A LEO of my acquaintance passed along to me the advice his trainer passed along to him: “You don’t shoot until you think the perp is dead – you shoot until HE thinks he’s dead!” Always seemed a sound idea to me.

    Bruce Hayden in reply to Walker Evans. | October 10, 2014 at 6:40 am

    Shouldn’t that really depend on the threat? My problem here is that sometimes there is a real threat, such as someone actually firing on a cop. And sometimes it is more perceived than real, such as the cops thinking something is a gun, when it isn’t, or when it is never drawn and pointed at them. Innocent people die in the latter case, due maybe to this philosophy of making sure someone is dead when they are seen as a threat, even when they aren’t. Its a fine line, but supposedly the goal of police is supposed to be to serve and protect, and gunning down innocents because they were mistakenly believed to be dangerous fails those goals catastrophically. And, yes, this is part of why being a cop can be dangerous.

      Not just dangerous, traumatic.

      Ragspierre in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 10, 2014 at 8:32 am

      “…due maybe to this philosophy of making sure someone is dead when they are seen as a threat”

      Except nobody said that. They did say you fire until there is no perceived threat any longer. That can mean the threat is beating a sprightly retreat, unscathed by any of your shots. It can mean all aggression has ceased because the aggressor finds plugging holes a higher priority than making holes in you. It can mean that the aggressor has decided to lie down and think deep, introspective thoughts until the paramedics arrive. Or, it can mean you made them grave yard dead with two in center mass and two in the head.

      In all cases, you’re intent is to get them to stop threatening you, not necessarily or primarily to kill them.

        Bruce Hayden in reply to Ragspierre. | October 10, 2014 at 10:03 am

        And this is the difference between civilians and police. I can retreat, and likely should after the use of deadly force. Not as much so for the cops. When I was taking a class a bit ago, the instructor said do not ever approach the other party laying on the ground, and try to kick their gun away from them. Not unheard of for someone to play possum. Rather, if they are down, retreat to safety, call 911, and have the responding officers disarm that other party, etc. And apparently that is preferably a two person operation, with one officer’s foot on the hand holding the weapon (and their gun on that person), while the second actually does the removal.

          Ragspierre in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 10, 2014 at 10:31 am

          I buy that up to a point. That point being the questionable safety of your retreat. If you CAN do that, I think that is sound. A lot depends…

          Bruce Hayden in reply to Bruce Hayden. | October 10, 2014 at 3:26 pm

          Not saying that you can always retreat after using deadly force, but if the other guy is down, retreat is probably easier than if he weren’t. And, most often, I would expect, safer for you.

Vonderrit Myers, Jr. joins “Mama” Cass Elliot in the unfortunate ranks of those who have perished in sandwich-related tragedies.

That’s some sandwich he’s got there. I guess this is where the metal meets the meat.

The stupid, it burns.

Ya-know, at this rate all of the stupid citizen in Ferguson will soon be dead, which will hopefully leave a smarter class of folk – and peace will return to the valley.

You know, this scene in Ferguson just looks exactly what you’d expect the zombie apocalypse to look like right where it begins.

buckeyeminuteman | October 10, 2014 at 1:21 pm

A Glock is a beautiful thing.

Because a gun ban has worked SO well in Chicago, DC, etc.

Collectivists ARE morons. They believe YOU are a moron.