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Investigation Finds Man Shot By Berkeley Police Pointed Gun At Officer First

Emanuele Berry | St. Louis Public Radio

An investigation by the Berkeley police department says it has confirmed that Antonio Martin pointed a gun at the officer who fatally shot him last Tuesday.

At a news conference this morning, Berkeley Police Chief Frank McCall said several witnesses told police that Martin pointed a gun at the officer. Those witnesses, police said, included the individual who was with Martin at the gas station where the shooting occurred.

The incident generated several protests. Some demonstrators said the shooting was unwarranted, pointing to the incident as another example of police targeting African Americans.

McCall said witnesses confirm the police account and support the video evidence, which captured some of the incident.

“Mr. Martin was armed,” he said. “Mr Martin did fire --- attempt to fire, when he pulled a weapon on the officer, pointed at the officer and the officer in fear of his life retreated and, while doing so fired approximately three rounds.”

McCall did not disclose information about the number of witnesses investigators spoke with or the name of the officer involved in the shooting.

He also speculated that the safety on Martin’s  gun stopped him from shooting at the officer. McCall says when he saw the weapon at the scene the safety was still on.

According to Berkeley's investigation, the incident happened within a half hour. Berkeley police were called to the scene at 11 p.m., shots were fired at 11:15 p.m. and paramedics declared Martin dead by 11:28 p.m.

Timeline According to Berkley Investigation: 

  • 11 p.m. - Berkeley Police Department receives call for service at Mobile station concerning shoplifting
  • 11:12 p.m. - Car dispatched to the Mobil and advised of incident, with a description of the suspect involved.  
  • 11:14 p.m. - Officer arrives on scene.
  • 11:15 p.m. - Officer reports that shots have been fired.
  • 11:16 p.m. - First assist unit arrives.
  • 11:16 p.m. - EMS requested by officers on the scene, supervisor arrives on scene.
  • 11:17 p.m. - EMS contacted by Berkeley communication dispatch
  • 11:19 p.m. - unknown female calls 911 requesting ambulance for Mr. Martin, she is advised that they are enroute.
  • 11:21 p.m. - Berkeley Fire and paramedic arrive on scene and begin treating Mr. Martin.
  • 11:24 p.m. - Berkeley Fire and Paramedics begin conducting EKG monitoring
  • 11:28 p.m. - Berkeley Fire and Paramedics determine that Mr. Martin is dead. His body is covered.
  • 12:40 a.m. - The medical examiner arrives on the scene

Beyond updating the community on the shooting investigation, Berkeley Mayor Theodore Hoskins also shared information on investigations into vandalism that took place the night of the shooting.
Hoskins said Joshua Williams, who’s been active in protest in Ferguson since August, is in custody for allegedly attempting to set a Berkeley gas station on fire.  

“We want our businesses and citizens to know that we are currently reviewing the tapes that occurred on that night and we are looking for the individuals that did damage and attempted to damage property within the city of Berkeley,” Hoskins said. “Those activities will not be tolerated in the city of Berkeley.”

After the night of the shooting, protests had been relatively small and non-disruptive until last night. Monday evening, dozens of demonstrators blocked-off roadways in the city. Hoskins says there is no reason for protest to continue in his town.

“The city of Berkeley will not tolerate what occurred last night,” Hoskins said. “As I indicated, protest peaceful. Not block the highway. Not block the through streets. All of those will not be acceptable from this day forward. So we are hoping that any of the protesters that do not believe that Mr. Martin drew his gun first, then they don’t not have a purpose. They have an overall objective of disruptive behavior and that will not be tolerated in the city of Berkeley.”

The St. Louis County Police are conducting a separate investigation into the shooting.