Teen shot by cops in St. Louis was armed and riding in stolen car, police say
Man pointing a gun (Shutterstock )

Police officers shot dead a teenager armed with a handgun after he got out of a stolen car in St. Louis on Wednesday night, their force said.

The shooting comes five months after a white police officer shot dead an unarmed black teenager in a suburb of the city -- one of a number of racially-charged cases that have prompted protests about police tactics across the United States.

Officers were tailing the car, which was reported stolen in December, when it struck a wall and the engine stopped, St. Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters.

The 19-year-old passenger was carrying a Tec 9 handgun when he got out of the car to flee, and officers ordered him to drop the weapon, Dotson said. Both officers opened fire when he did not, fatally wounding him, he added.

One of the officers involved in Wednesday's shooting was white and the other black, Dotson said at a press conference broadcast online. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the shot teenager was African-American.

The teenager died in hospital, Dotson said. The driver of the car, who the Post-Dispatch said was also black, was taken into police custody.

The St. Louis area has been racked with tension following the shooting death of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by white police officer Darren Wilson in August in the suburb of Ferguson.

The New York Times reported on Wednesday that the U.S. Justice Department would soon close its investigation into Brown's death and clear Wilson of any civil rights charges.

(Reporting by Curtis Skinner in San Francisco)