The family of a man who was shot and killed by an off-duty St. Louis County police officer says that the altercation followed an argument on Facebook about Black Lives Matter, the Chicago Tribune reports.
The officer, who has not been identified, shot 20-year-old Tyler Gebhard after the young man threw a 50-pound concrete planter through a window of the officer's Lakeshire, Mo., home.
Gebhard's family said that the 20-year-old had struggled with mental-health issues for quite some time.
The officer is reportedly a three-year veteran of the department and has been put on administrative leave, pending an investigation.
Gebhard's uncle, Patrick Brogan, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Gebhard knew the officer through a church connection and that the two had argued on Facebook about Black Lives Matter. Gebhard, Brogan said, did not participate in protests but did support the group and what the organization stands for.
Gebhard, he added, suffered from bipolar disorder and sometimes did not take his medication.
"He had a lot of mental problems the last few months," Brogan said. "A lot of difficulties in life."
"He was like a normal 20-year-old; [the family] had to stay on him to take his medication," the uncle added.
On Saturday evening, authorities say, the argument culminated with Gebhard going over to the officer's home and ringing the doorbell. The officer was at home at the time with his wife, mother-in-law, a toddler and a baby. The wife answered the door with the baby and reportedly recognized Gebhard, authorities said. She shut the door, retreating to a back bedroom with other family members.
However, before the officer could confront Gebhard, the 20-year-old went to the back of the house, tossing a hefty concrete planter through a window in order to enter the home, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar said.
The officer's family members who were in the bedroom said they heard him yell, "Get down, get down, get down," before several shots were fired, Belmar said.
Gebhard was shot twice in the chest and was pronounced dead at a hospital.
"I don't think the officer had a choice—I honestly don't," Belmar said, adding that it was "a very difficult position to be in."