14-year-old shot by St. Louis police

Police say the suspect shot at them first.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police officers shot a 14-year-old boy as he ran from them Sunday morning near Walbridge Elementary School on Davison Avenue in North City.

According to police, two officers in a patrol car were searching the area for a vehicle that had been spotted nearby.

The vehicle may have been carjacked a few days prior.

Having lost sight of the car, the officers drove down Davison Ave. and say upon seeing the 14-year-old they stopped to ask him some questions.

They say the boy ran from them, and according to Chief Sam Dotson, the officers chased him.

They claim the boy pulled out a pistol and fired a single shot at the officers, who then returned fire, hitting the boy.

Chief Dotson could not say exactly how many shots were fired, where on his body the boy was hit or by how many of the bullets.

"The car they were driving didn't have a camera in it, nor were they wearing body cameras," said Dotson.

The 14-year-old was apprehended about a block away, and taken to the hospital.

Police say they found the pistol, which had a defaced serial number, discarded in a yard the boy ran through not far from where the shots were exchanged.

Neither of the officers, nor their patrol car were hit by a bullet.

Because the officers were not wearing body cameras, and there was no in car video system, the only eyewitnesses to the incident are believed to be those involved.

The teen's family reached out to Five On Your Side with an update on the teens condition. The teen's mother says he has a punctured lung and is in critical but stable condition. The family also absolutely deny the police account of how this all began.

"Police should have cameras on their body. they should be trained not to pull a gun out when you see a child.
He's 14 years old. When you see him, he looks like a child. He doesn't look like a grown person," said Darrisha Barnes, the teen's sister.

Several neighbors say they heard shots and yelling, but so far no one seems to have actually seen what happened.

A video camera on the school building may have captured the event, investigators are currently following that lead.

As of Sunday morning, the boy was in critical but stable condition and expected to live.

Community members have taken issue with the shooting, lashing out at the police verbally for shooting the boy.

Residents disbelieve the officers story that the boy was armed, even though a weapon was recovered at the scene.

Chief Dotson expressed his desire that his officers do everything they can to ensure the community has confidence in the department.

However, it seems, that confidence has already been lost by some.

Committeewoman for the 27th ward Pamela Boyd says there was a time when the community bragged about the positive relationship they had with police, but that was long ago.

She also said the manner in which the police stopped to question the young man may have contributed to the outcome.

Boyd says the officers involved in the shooting appear to have left their patrol car aggressively parked diagonally in the middle of the street, effectively blocking it off.

"I know if it was my son and he was walking down the street, and that [police] car went down the middle of the street, he would probably run. Because he would think they were coming after him," said Boyd.

Chief Dotson promised to release more information that would paint a clearer picture of what happened, as it becomes available.

He also says police are looking for video surveillance in the area that may shed light on what happened.

The St. Louis Police Department doesn't have a body camera program for any of its officers, but Dotson says city leaders are looking at ways to get body cameras for the city's police department.


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