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Amid a second day of protests, St. Louis County Police Chief Jon Belmar gave the first details from his department’s investigation into the fatal shooting Saturday of 18-year-old Mike Brown by an unidentified Ferguson police officer outside the Canfield Green Apartment complex.
At a news conference on Sunday at the Ferguson fire station, Belmar said the police officer was attacked by two individuals.
“One of those individuals, at the time, came in as the officer was exiting his car, allegedly pushed the police officer back in the car, where he physically assaulted the police officer. It is our understanding at this point in the investigation that within the police car there was a struggle over the police officer’s weapon," Belmar said.
Belmar said the officer’s gun was fired at least once inside the police car, but the officer shot and killed Brown outside of the vehicle. Belmar said the number of shots fired was “more than a few.”
When pressed on whether Brown was fleeing at the time of those shots, Belmar demurred.
“I’m not going to be able to get into any of those types of questions,” said Belmar. “I haven’t had the opportunity even in fact yet to sit down with the prosecuting attorney’s office. I don’t want to do anything that would ever prejudice this case on either side of it.”
The officer has been placed on paid administrative leave during the investigation. According to Belmar, the man has been with the Ferguson Police for six years and has had “no issues.”
Outside the fire station, a couple hundred protesters shouted phrases such as “Don’t shoot” and “No justice, no peace.”
About an hour after the news conference members of Mike Brown’s family spoke to the crowd.
“I need justice for my son,” said Brown’s father, also named Mike Brown.
An aunt, Elizabeth Spivey, said that Brown was not a violent person.
“He was nothing but a gentle giant,” said Spivey. “He wouldn’t have harmed anyone.” “We, the family, the Browns, appreciate everyone’s coming out and supporting us in this incident because this is going to be a long journey for us—a battle because no one is really telling us what happened to my nephew,” she added.
A vigil is planned for Sunday night outside of the apartment complex where the shooting took place.
Follow Camille Phillips on Twitter: @cmpcamille