St. Louis police release footage of Antonio Martin fatal shooting
St. Louis County police released footage on Wednesday evening they said shows 18-year-old Antonio Martin pulling a gun on an officer before being shot and killed, The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.
The footage was taken from three different security cameras at the Berkeley, Missouri gas station where Martin encountered the unidentified officer. However, the officer did not record the incident on either his dashboard camera or a body camera provided to him.
“He said he clipped it somewhere in the car, didn’t put it on, and next thing you know you’re here,” Police Chief Jon Belmar said at a news conference. The officer’s dashboard camera was not functioning at the time of the shooting, officials said, because it requires the patrol vehicle’s emergency lights to be running to do so.
The Huffington Post reported that Mayor Theodore Hoskins said he was not concerned that the officer was not using his cameras, saying the department was not used to the technology.
“In the future and when we get well trained, there will be a severe penalty for an officer who does not turn [their body camera] on,” he said.
One security camera, “Camera 29,” shows the encounter from a distance. Martin and a second man were approached by the officer in connection with a robbery at the store. The video cuts off with a man, identified by police as Martin, with his arm extended.
The second camera, listed as “Camera 26,” captures a partial view of the incident. The second man can be seen backing away from the officer, while Martin pulls something out and points it at the officer. The other man is then seen running into the store.
The third camera shows the officer stumbling back after firing. He then runs across the gas station to wait for backup after dropping his own gun.
“I think the officer, because he stumbled, may have saved his life,” Hoskins said.
Belmar said Martin was “well-known” to authorities. Martin had been charged with three assaults, as well as weapons-related charges and armed robbery since he turned 17. Police said they recovered a 9mm handgun at the scene with the serial number defaced.
“These are nothing but tragedies,” Belmar said. “This is a family right now that, regardless of the decisions that this individual made, are without a family member this Christmas season. This is also a tragedy for the police officer. He will carry the weight of this for the rest of his life, certainly for the rest of his career.”
The gas station led to a protest against police not long after the shooting, with protesters arguing that the officer failed to call for medical assistance for Martin, who was still alive after being shot once. Martin died 30 minutes after the encounter.
Martin’s family questioned the police’s account of the shooting, saying he was not a violent person.
“If he was in the wrong, I want to know he was in the wrong. I want to see the gun in his hand,” his grandmother, Margret Chandler, told the Los Angeles Times. “I don’t want them to tell me he had it. I want to see it. These police do some dirty things. They just wait until nightfall to see some young black men and gun them down.”
Watch a report on the footage, as aired on KMOV-TV on Wednesday, below.