The family of Antonio Martin said they were preparing to celebrate the Christmas holidays when the shooting of the teenager tore apart their plans.
“They won’t let me see my baby,” Toni Martin, sobbed to the the KMOV news channel as she stood on the garage forecourt where her son had been killed. “They got my baby lying out there. He has been out there for two hours.”
Ms Martin said her son had gone out on Tuesday evening to see his girlfriend, who lives near the Mobil petrol station in the St Louis suburb of Berkeley. It was her son’s girlfriend who called her to say that the teenager had been shot and killed.
Mr Martin had turned 18 in September, his family said. He had been expelled from school but was attempting to get his life back on the rails and his mother had been encouraging him to take part in a search for employment.
Mr Martin’s father, Jerome Green, confirmed the story that his son had gone out to see his girlfriend and had not mentioned that he was going with a second person. He said that the young man lived at home and had a sister and brother.
The New York Times said that Berkeley is a mostly black suburb with about 9,000 residents, one of the dozens of small, working-class municipalities that surround the city of St Louis.
“He was supposed to come home,” added Mr Green. “We’re getting ready for holiday; everyone wanted to see him. My grandmother hadn't seen him for a while.”
Police are investigating the circumstances of the shooting and have said the officer who shot the young man was in “fear of his life” after the teenager pulled out a gun and pointed it at him. They have not yet identified the policeman but said he had six years experience.
“The Berkeley police officer exited his vehicle and approached the subjects when one of the men pulled a handgun and pointed it at the officer,” the St Louis County Police department, which is leading the investigation, said in a statement. “Fearing for his life, the Berkeley officer fired several shots, striking the subject, fatally wounding him. The second subject fled the scene.”Reuse content