Did Stephon Averyhart really point a gun at two St. Louis police officers?
The St. Louis Police Department says he did -- and that's why they shot him to death.
But the 27-year-old's family says he was just running away because he was a constant target for traffic cops and, with a few traffic-ticket warrants on his record that he had trouble trying to pay, he took his chances and ran instead of getting yet another one.
Cops say he pulled a gun on them. Averyhart's family say that's absurd, given the car mechanic's nonviolent character and his unnecessary need to escalate things to that level. He's never been a violent criminal, they say. Just one with a bad driving record.
Here's what the police say happened on February 12: Averyhart refused to pull over his car and led police on a short chase. To force him to stop, a spiked barricade was placed on the street, causing Averyhart's tires to blow out and send his car crashing into a pole. See also: Police Shoot, Kill Wanted Suspect Stephon Averyhart After Back-Alley Chase
He then hobbled out of the vehicle with a gun in his hand and ran into an alley with two cops chasing after him on foot. When the cops turned a corner, they claim to have seen Averyhart pointing a gun at them. "In fear for their lives," they opened fire, shooting him multiple times, including once in the head.
Police say they found "narcotics" on the scene. The St. Louis Police Department is unable to confirm to Daily RFT what type of narcotics Averyhart had when he was killed, explaining they need to get back results -- a typical procedure in all drug cases.
The only evidence of drugs on his rap sheet is a misdemeanor bust (less than 35 grams) for marijuana from March, 2013.
Averyhart's family say they believe what the police say up until the point of the shooting. What they don't believe is that Averyhart ever pointed a gun at the police. He wasn't a "wanted felon" as media reports described him, based on police press releases, after the shooting. All he had was a few warrants for unpaid traffic tickets. And Averyhart's family says pointing a gun at police just wasn't in him.
Rather, they say, a more likely scenario is that when the cops turned the corner and saw Averyhart, they shot first and asked questions later.
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