The family of an 18-year-old who died of a gunshot wound to the face last week in Normandy after exchanging gunfire with a police officer is disputing police accounts that he was suicidal.
According to St. Louis County Police, Amonderez Green exchanged gunfire with a Normandy officer Wednesday, after officers from both the Normandy and Ferguson police departments responded to a call for crisis intervention. Police say family members called police for help. A police report released Thursday said the only bullet to hit Green appeared to be self-inflicted.
But members of Green’s family say that’s not the actions of the Amonderez they know.
“He was very, very extremely faithful to his mother and his siblings,” said his grandmother, Colette Green. “He walked to and from to take his sisters to school. He made sure they came home. He was a good son and he’s extremely missed.”
Colette Green said Amonderez had worked at the McDonald's restaurant in Cool Valley for two years and was always willing to pick up an extra shift. He’d recently picked up a second job at the Cheesecake Factory at the Galleria in Richmond Heights.
Green said her grandson loved music so much he slept with his headphones on. He was a senior at McCluer South-Berkeley High School, and loved fashion, especially tennis shoes.
“When he was younger he was just so smart. He was a straight-A student. He was reading above two levels in sixth grade,” said Percy Green, Amonderez’s uncle, adding that recently he worried about having enough credits to graduate and was making plans to transfer to a different high school.
“He was the type of person where if he said he was your friend then that’s the type of friend you always wanted because he was going to be there,” Percy Green added. “He would have a fight and he would come and get suspended and I would get mad at him. He would tell me ‘I had to fight because he was picking on so and so.’ ”
According to his uncle, Amonderez was not suicidal.
“He had worries and he would be frustrated about stuff, but he never was to the point where he was mentally distraught or disturbed, said Green (who is not related to the local civil rights activist).
“He wasn’t planning Wednesday to be the end. He was planning life after Wednesday.”
Percy Green said his nephew dreamed of making it big as a rapper, but also made backup plans to make a living as a plumber or an electrician in order to support his mother and grandmother.
Austin Green, cousin to Amonderez, also disputes the police report that Amonderez was suicidal.
“I trust and believe his mother, his grandmother, his stepfather, his father, his close friends. I trust my gut, my interactions. He was not suicidal,” said Austin Green.
Both uncle and cousin also say they’ve heard too many different accounts of what happened in Normandy Wednesday afternoon and are waiting until they get the facts straight before they start pointing fingers.
“We’re not satisfied basically with the conclusions that the police department is offering us, and a lot of stuff that they’re not offering us at this point,” said Austin Green, adding that the family is conducting its own investigation.
“The one thing I know the most is my nephew’s not here. And that’s the one thing that matters to me. He’s not here and it’s very important to me to find out truthfully why he’s not here,” said Percy Green.
If you are experiencing a crisis or having thoughts of suicide call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Additional resources are also available here.
Stephanie Lecci contributed to this report.