Vonderrit Myers Jr., the St. Louis teen shot and killed during a stop by an off-duty police officer moonlighting as a security guard, had gun residue on his shooting hand, according to police, confirming earlier police statements that the teen was armed during the incident that ended with the officer firing his weapon some 17 times, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports.
According to police officials who spoke briefly at a press conference Tuesday, gunshot-residue tests and ballistics evidence indicate that Myers fired a gun during the fatal police shooting. Authorities noted that gun residue was found in Myers' waistband, where police believe Myers kept the gun, and on his right hand. Residue was also found on his shirt and his pocket. Police noted that residue can be found on anyone near a shooting, but said the residue found on Myers was consistent with what would be found on a shooter, the Post-Dispatch reports.
Ballistic tests done by forensic scientists from the Missouri Highway Patrol crime lab confirmed that three bullets found near an area where the officer was said to have taken cover match the gun at the scene that police believe is Myers', according to the Post-Dispatch.
Police also confirmed that photos of Myers circulating on social media, which show the teen holding a gun, are consistent with the gun found at the scene of the shooting.
Protesters marched in the streets of St. Louis last week to call for an end to police violence after the shooting deaths of Michael Brown—an unarmed Ferguson, Mo., teen fatally shot by Officer Darren Wilson—and Myers, who witnesses claimed was holding a sandwich when he was fatally shot. The news didn't change the Myers family's position that they want a full investigation into the events that occurred the night of their son's death. They do not believe the police version that Myers was running when the officer made a U-turn to conduct what has been called a "pedestrian check." They also don't believe that Myers fired shots at the officer.
Jerryl Christmas, a lawyer representing the Myers family, confirmed to the Post-Dispatch that Myers is in the photo referenced by police, but added that the picture is at least a year old.
"Young people do a lot of things on social media that they should not," Christmas told the Post-Dispatch. Christmas also added that the photos did not prove that Myers had a gun on the night he was fatally shot and noted that the family wants a "full and fair investigation by an outside agency, and did not want to discuss evidence in a vacuum," the Post Dispatch reports.
"Protesters demanded immediate answers and demanded officers not shoot unarmed suspects," Jeff Roorda, business manager of the St. Louis Police Officers Association, told reporters during a police-union press conference. "Everything they asked for in Ferguson they got in Shaw, and it still wasn't enough."
Willie Kilpatrick, a pastor and spokesman for the Myers family, told CNN that he has trouble with the police findings because officials have told several different stories since the shooting occurred. According to Kilpatrick, the police initially stated that Myers jumped out of a bush and confronted the officer, then the story was that the officer was performing a pedestrian check.
"It is very difficult for us to accept the ending of the story when the middle of the story is factually inconsistent and not true," Kilpatrick told the news station. "Why would the police officer approach them in the first place? There was not a 911 call, these kids were not in the act of breaking into a car, there have been no reports from the police that there were any issues … why were they even stopped in the first place?"