The St. Louis teenager fatally shot by an off-duty officer, which set off fresh protests in an already tense atmosphere, had gunshot residue on his hand and the waistband of his jeans, according to lab results released Tuesday by the police department. The police union said the samples from the shooting of Vonderrit Myers — which were tested by the Missouri State Highway Patrol — corroborate the officer's story that the suspect fired at him at least three times before he fired back 17 times. The police department's release didn't make any conclusions, noting that residue on the hands can come from shooting a firearm or being shot at close range.
The union leaders also noted that Myers, 18, was accused of involvement in a shooting when he was 16 and that he was out on bail and wearing an ankle bracelet when he was shot. They said photos on social media showed Myers with a gun that matches the one police say he fired — and they heaped scorn on politicians and activists who alleged that Myers, who was black, was racially profiled by the white cop. "To point their political guns at law enforcement is irresponsible and despicable," union business manager Jeff Roorda said.
An attorney for Myers' family said he did not want to comment on the lab results or specific claims by the police union and renewed his call for an independent probe by the Justice Department. "The parents want a full and thorough investigation and they're willing to follow the investigation wherever it leads," said the lawyer, Jerryl Christmas.
Myers' death came just days before a series of rallies and vigils to mark the two months since another black teen, Michael Brown, was killed by a white police officer in nearby Ferguson.
— Tracy Connor