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Man With A Knife Fatally Shot By Police In St. Louis, Officials Say

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson talks to a crowd about the shooting Tuesday.
St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson talks to a crowd about the shooting Tuesday.

St. Louis Metropolitan Police shot and killed a man about 4 miles from the suburb of Ferguson, where people have been rallying since the fatal shooting of Michael Brown by a police officer on Aug. 9.

The knife-wielding 23-year-old was "acting erratically," Police Chief Sam Dotson said in a news conference. He said two officers drew their weapons and "gave verbal commands," and that the man approached police "in a threatening manner with a knife in an overhand posture."

Stephanie Lecci of St. Louis Public Radio says this appears to be an "isolated incident," not connected to the protests in neighboring Ferguson.

Here's a summary of the events, according to Dotson (and reported by Lecci on All Things Considered):

-- Two calls were made: one by a convenience store owner who said a man had stolen items from his store and was then pacing up and down the street with a knife; another by a St. Louis alderwoman who described a man talking to himself, walking in the street, armed.

-- Two officers responded to the calls, initially approaching the suspect without drawing their weapons.

-- Then the suspect grabbed a knife from his waistband and told the officers, "Shoot me now. Kill me now." The officers gave verbal warnings and drew their weapons when they saw the knife.

-- The man did not comply with orders to drop the weapon and move back. When he came within 3 to 4 feet of one of the officers, both officers fired and killed the suspect.

Dotson defended the officers' actions, saying they have a right to defend themselves and that 3 to 4 feet is within lethal range.

Lecci says witnesses are still being interviewed by police.

NewsChannel 5 in St. Louis says a crowd had gathered in the area "within an hour of the shooting ... chanting 'Hands up! Don't shoot!' " It also reports:

"Alderman Antonio French told NewsChannel 5 he has talked to the community gathering at the scene and reminded them this isn't Ferguson, and implored them not to act violently."

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