September 18, 2014 / 4:48 PM / 3 years ago

Officers kill armed suspect in St. Louis suburb, police say

(Reuters) - St. Louis County police shot dead a man who they said pointed a rifle at them after a short foot chase about two miles from an apartment complex where a white Ferguson officer killed an unarmed black teen in August, sparking protests.

The county police officers, who are assigned to Jennings, which like Ferguson is a suburb of metropolitan St. Louis, have been placed on administrative leave following the late Wednesday shooting, St. Louis County Police Sergeant Brian Schellman said on Thursday.

He said the officers are white and the suspect, 42, is black. Schellman did not identify the officers, but said records showed the suspect had served eight years in prison. Police recovered a loaded .22-caliber rifle at the scene, he said.

The suspect is believed to have been known to a woman who had called police earlier on Wednesday night reporting a man knocking on her door with what she described as a sawed-off shotgun, Schellman said.

The man left before police arrived, but returned later on Wednesday, Schellman said. As officers drove to the residence a second time, they saw a black vehicle approaching and got out of their cars to talk to the driver, he said.

The vehicle accelerated toward them and the officers jumped out of the way as it crashed into one police car and then the second, Schellman said. The man exited the vehicle carrying a long gun and ran behind some townhouses, he said.

The officers chased the man on foot, and he took cover behind some construction equipment, Schellman said. The man pointed the rifle directly at police and the officers fired, killing him, he said.

The rifle turned out to have a bullet jammed in its chamber, Schellman said.

Weeks of demonstrations have followed the Aug. 9 shooting of Michael Brown, 18, by Ferguson officer Darren Wilson. Brown's family, protesters and civil rights leaders have demanded that Wilson be charged with a crime and that the St. Louis County prosecutor be replaced with a special prosecutor.

Brown's shooting is under investigation by a St. Louis County grand jury and the U.S. Justice Department. No charges have been filed.

Reporting by Kevin Murphy in Kansas City, Missouri; Editing by David Bailey

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