18-year-old VonDerrit Myers pictured with his mother.
St. Louis police Officer Jason Flanery will not be charged for the shooting of 18-year-old VonDerrit Myers, prosecutors announced this week.
Unlike Michael Brown and other unarmed Black teens that were killed by police officers, Myers is a different story since he reportedly had a gun and shot at the officer, according to accounts.
In October 2014, Flanery was working his secondary job as a security guard, but was wearing his police uniform, including a 9-millimeter department-issued Beretta handgun, according to the prosecutor report cited by the Los Angeles Times. Myers and his friends were walking from a supermarket when Flanery spotted them and they began running. Myers reportedly grabbed at his waistband before he started tussling with the officer. He eventually slipped away before running up a hill, then turned to confront Flanery.
According to police, Myers possessed a gun and fired it at Flanery three times. The officer returned fire, shooting his gun 17 times and hitting Myers with eight bullets.
The crime lab found gunshot residue on Myers’ hands and shirt and inside the pockets of his jeans, according to USA Today.
“Given the fact that Mr. Myers produced a weapon, Missouri laws pertaining to self-defense and an officer’s use of deadly force apply,” a statement from the St. Louis prosecutor’s office read. “Given all the available facts, witness statements, physical and forensic evidence and for reasons outlined in the detailed report, prosecutors have determined a criminal violation could not be proven beyond a reasonable doubt.”
Myers’ family disputes claims that he had a gun, saying he was holding a sandwich at the time, according to the Times. Jerryl Christmas, the attorney representing Myers’ family, went so far as to suggest the gun was planted on Myers.
“Flanery is lying when he said he was in a gun battle,” Christmas told the Times. “He shot this boy seven times from behind.”