ST. LOUIS - Protestors took to the streets Tuesday night in response to the police-involved shooting death of a transgender woman in north St. Louis.
Dozens of people marched and carried signs through the busy intersection of Maryland & Euclid in the Central West End.
"Get off the sidewalk!" they chanted according to people who were there.
And while the activity remained mostly peaceful, the regular flow of traffic was disrupted for an extended period of time.
Participants were intending to raise awareness about the death earlier in the day of Kenny "Kiwi" Herring, 30, at the hands of St. Louis police.
Relatives have identified her as a transgender woman from Mississippi with three young boys and a wife. Police said they continue to identify Herring as a man, citing preliminary investigative information and an ID found on him.
They said they would update Herring's gender identity pending official next of kin notification.
At approximately 8 a.m., officers received two calls for a cutting at a two-family flat located in the 5200 block of Ridge.
Responding units located an unidentified male victim, 28, in an apartment unit suffering from severe lacerations to his torso, face and arms.
The man, according to police, identified Herring, who by then was located in the apartment unit nextdoor, as the person who attacked him with a large kitchen knife.
"When you look at the injuries of the victim, you can clearly tell the intent of the suspect," said Acting Chief Larry O'Toole.
According to police, two officers with a combined experience of 16 years on the city's force confronted and attempted to apprehend Herring.
Police said Herring ignored their repeated commands and swung the knife at them, slicing one of the officers on the arm.
That is when they both opened fire, striking Herring multiple times. Herring was pronounced dead on scene.
The officer and other stabbing victim were both taken to the hospital for evaluation and treatment, and were expected to survive their injuries.
O'Toole said, "The officer is fortunate he didn't suffer severe injuries."
Kristy Thompson, 28, was also arrested on the scene for "involvement" in the assault of the man, according to police. She was charged with first-degree assault and being held on $80,000, cash-only bond.
In the hours following the deadly encounter, about 50 relatives, activists and sympathizers gathered at the scene for a prayer vigil and protest.
Crevonda Nance, Herring's sister-in-law, made an emotional plea to the crowd. "For me and family, I'm asking you to keep us in your prayers."
Nance said she had just talked with Herring about 45 minutes before the fatal shooting.
She said Herring was worried about a dispute she had with someone living in the building's basement.
Nance said Herring often ran into discrimination around St. Louis for being transgender. "People weren't accepting him. The homophobic people weren't accepting him," she said.
Police have made no mention of her gender identity playing a role in the investigation.
O'Toole did say officers have made multiple stops at the residence for domestic disturbances. He said a small fire on the property Monday night "might have" had something to do with what happened Tuesday.
Nance said she has the difficult task now of taking care of Herring's three boys and getting Herring's wife, the 28-year-old woman, out of jail.
"Let's learn from this and pray it doesn't happen again," she said.
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