St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson

St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson

*Two St. Louis police officers just shot and killed a young African-American man not far from Ferguson, Missouri, where a police officer shot and killed unarmed teenager Michael Brown 10 days ago.

The man in the St. Louis shooting, 23, had taken energy drinks and a package of pastries from a nearby convenience store, Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters. He said that the man was “acting erratically, walking back and forth, up and down the street.”

The chief said that the officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife and drew their weapons after he did not drop it. The chief said the man told the police: “Shoot me now. Kill me now.”

He said the two officers fired after the man moved toward one of them and came within 3 to 4 feet.

A crowd of at least 100 people quickly gathered at the scene. Some people chanted, “Hands up! Don’t shoot!” — the refrain from a week of protests over the police killing of Michael Brown, three miles away.

“One of the witnesses described it as a suicide by cop,” Dotson said.

There was a heavy police presence at the scene, and police marked off the intersection with yellow tape. Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who was arrested last week during protests over the Brown killing, urged the crowd to maintain peace.

“The last thing we need is violence in our neighborhood,” he said. “And that’s not going to be on the police to make sure there’s not violence in our neighborhood, that’s going to be on us. No silliness here.”

He said that he had much more confidence in St. Louis city police than in Ferguson police, and promised to work with the department to make sure there was not a “heavy-handed response” to any protests.

Listen to the press conference below: