Late Sunday at 11:30 pm, two St. Louis police officers fatally shot a 16-year-old they said was reaching for a gun. According to ABC News, Darryl Ross was outside a local gas station when two drug enforcement detectives were surveilling the area. The incident report notes the detectives saw several people with guns outside the gas station. Each officer was in plain clothes but wearing black, bulletproof vests with the word “POLICE” written on the front and back.
The police report alleges that Ross then walked away toward an alley. When the detectives announced themselves as police officers, Ross ran, then tripped and fell, dropping a pistol. As per the account, Ross reached for the pistol, and then both officers shot him. Civil rights leaders have called for more information to be released.
“What’s critical is getting as much footage of the shooting out as possible as swiftly as possible,” said Adolphus Pruitt, the president of the city’s chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. “We don’t need family nor police nor the community rambling with any speculation.”
While the police report details one account, Ross’s family disagrees with what happened that night. Darryl’s uncle, Johnny Parker, told St. Louis Post-Dispatch that Darryl ran away because the officers had not announced themselves as police officers.
Darryl’s mother, Jukita Johnson, who was at the store at the time, echoed that claim and said her son never had the gun in his hand.
“After my son was on the ground, that’s when I saw (the vest) said police,” Johnson said Monday afternoon, as the family gathered near where Darryl was shot. “They never announced themselves as police.”
“He never had (the gun) in his hand; he never pulled it out. Because when they turned my baby over, (the gun) was still right here,” Johnson said, tapping her waistband. “They killed my baby, they could have grabbed him ... he never pulled (the gun) out.”
Both officers have been placed on administrative leave. The city’s newly established Force Investigation Unit will be looking into this case.