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Is it hard to believe that a vigil marking the two-year anniversary of the death of a violent criminal and would-be cop killer would end in violence. Especially when the deceased, VonDerrit Myers, met his end while wearing an ankle monitoring bracelet, ignoring a house arrest order, and firing his stolen 9mm Smith & Wesson pistol at a police officer. But more violence broke out Sunday evening with three people gaining fresh perforations at the candlelight vigil in St. Louis.

Myers’ friends and family claimed the police lied about the original shooting. They claimed Myers did nothing wrong.  They claimed Myers was holding a ham sandwich, not a gun, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary.

His friends and family didn’t offer up any reason why Mr. Myers wasn’t at home where he was under house arrest for unlawful use of a weapon and resisting arrest following a high-speed chase with police. Per the St. Louis County Circuit Attorney’s office:

On June 27, 2014, VonDerrit Myers, Jr. was charged with Unlawful Use of a Weapon and Resisting Arrest in the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court for an incident that occurred the same day. Charging documents state that Myers was the passenger in a vehicle involved in a high-speed chase. After it crashed, Myers exited the vehicle and took off running. Officers said Myers retrieved a previously fully concealed firearm and discarded it in a sewer drain. The gun was recovered and it was found to be a loaded Hi-Point .380 caliber semi-automatic pistol.

On July 7, 2014, Myers posted bond and was ordered by a judge to comply with various bond requirements, including participation in an electronic monitoring system. Myers agreed, as a condition of bond, to wear a GPS monitoring device around his ankle. As a condition of bond, Myers agreed to be on court-mandated house arrest. A judge ordered him not to leave his residence except for work, court appearances, meetings with attorneys and other court officials. He was not to have contact with co-defendants, or attend parties or engage in “hanging out.” He was to abide by random drug testing; he was to follow all rules at home and report within 24 hours of release to a probation officer. He was to maintain attendance at a job, school or GED program.

Mr. Myers didn’t comply with the judge’s orders, or society’s norms. In the end, while trying to evade capture by a pursuing police officer, Myers tried to shoot and kill the cop in order to escape. The officer returned fire putting an end to his criminal career.

Officials cleared the police officer, noting the cop’s actions were justified. Here is an excerpt from the St. Louis Circuit Attorney’s office:

Officer X was within his legal rights to patrol the neighborhood and attempt to secure the safety of all citizens. Officer X was acting as a police officer while working a department-approved secondary shift.

Upon seeing a group of individuals who had appeared to run from him, Officer X pursued a person. Based on his recorded statement to police, Officer X believed the person he first chased was the same person he later shot. That appears to be incorrect. A GPS device located on Myers’ person appears to confirm Myers’ presence at home on Castleman Ave. at the time Officer X told investigators he was pursuing a person.

Prosecutors reviewed every aspect of the incident and determined Officer X’s actions were reasonable under Missouri laws, for the following reasons.

Officer X encountered Myers and Myers’ acquaintances on Shaw Blvd. a short time after the initial pursuit. Officer X was met with hostility from Myers and Myers did not comply with the officer’s commands. Myers was grabbing at his waistband, according to Officer X, giving the officer reasonable suspicion that Myers had a firearm. The officer, therefore, had the legal right to attempt to detain Myers for further questioning. Myers’ acquaintances confirm that Myers and the officer engaged in a physical altercation, and they confirm that Myers ran away. At that point in time, Officer X had probable cause to give chase in an attempt to detain Myers for assault on a law enforcement officer.

Officer X did not have the legal right to use deadly force at this point in time. As soon as Myers produced a gun, however, under the law, the officer’s rights changed.

For a number of reasons, prosecutors concluded Myers produced a gun. Witnesses confirm there was gunfire coming from both directions and from two different guns at the scene. Ballistics evidence confirms that two different guns were fired at the scene. There is no evidence that Officer X was the person who fired both guns. No witness claims to have seen Officer X alter evidence in any way, such as throw down a gun, wipe away evidence, fire a weapon in any direction other than towards the gangway or scatter casings. Additionally, there are witnesses that describe how Myers came into possession of the Smith and Wesson firearm.

There is no evidence to suggest that Myers had anything else in his hands at the time of the incident. Though Myers had purchased a sandwich at a store shortly before the shooting, an acquaintance of Myers confirmed Myers had fully consumed it prior to the confrontation with the officer.

At the moment Myers pulled the gun, Officer X could have reasonably believed under the law that deadly force was necessary to effect the arrest. Further, Officer X had reasonable belief that Myers had committed or was attempting to commit a felony, and/or that Myers was attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon and/or that Myers was otherwise endangering life. Officer X, however, did not fire his gun when he first saw Myers draw his weapon. He told investigators that he hesitated to make sure that it was a gun.

Fast forward to Sunday evening, the two year anniversary of Myers’ demise. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has the story:

3 injured as gunfire breaks out at St. Louis vigil for VonDerrit Myers Jr.

Three men were injured Saturday night in St. Louis as gunfire broke out during a candlelight vigil for an 18-year-old fatally shot by a St. Louis police officer two years earlier. …

 

At least 50 people, including Myers’ family, were present when the vigil was interrupted by a disturbance in the street where several young men were arguing with one another, McGrane said.

“Mr. Myers Sr. and others tried to separate the group when someone pulled out a gun and started shooting,” McGrane said. “They started shooting, and then someone else started shooting. There were multiple shots fired all over the place.”

And so it goes.

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68 Responses to St. Louis: Would-be Cop Killer’s Vigil Ends in Violence

  1. What a mess. The whole thing is tragic but, unfortunately, not surprising.

    Also, I hate to be a grammar nazi here but “The officer returned fire putting an end to his criminal career.” Technically this sentence says the officer returned fire and that this somehow ended the officer’s criminal career because the pro-noun “his” refers back to the most recent noun used which in this case is “officer”.

    I know what you’re saying but subject-verb confusion like this just jumps out at and annoys me. It’s an OCD thing. Sorry for being a grammar nazi. I’ll go sit in the corner now.

    • Strychnine, you really need to step away from the keyboard occasionally. Jus think about it.

      • Don’t have much else to do after 1200 these days. Sometimes that runs a few hours longer but wtf else am I supposed to do as I basically sit around waiting for my car to get fixed?

    • People spend lots of time working on their gun malfunctions, but how much time do we spend on our subject-verb malfunctions?

    • You’re correct. What make the writing even worse is the fact that it is a legal document, had this been a warrant a defense attorney could have had a field day with the information. Grammar matters. Now, have you seen Kyle, he’s about this tall (holds out hand in Nazi salute to indicate height).

  2. Ham sandwich? That’s a new one. I like it. Would’ve resonated better with people if it was PB&J. Not everyone likes pork, but everyone loves PB&J.

  3. It is absolutely bigoted and irrational to assume that black people are inherently violent. It is completely rational and consistent to recognize that there exists a large violent sub-culture within the black community which is dangerous and needs to be addressed for the good of everyone.

    Yes, there are violent subcultures in every race… but the black community gets a special pass that other communities don’t get because of slavery… Like that was some sort of unique black American experience.

    We need to respect black people enough to treat them as the responsible moral agents we expect everyone else to be.

    • It is, however, quite rational and not at all bigoted to protect ourselves from members of and participants in urban black gangsta culture regardless of their skin color.

      I am an individualist. Everyone I have dealings with starts out with the same degree of respect, and that is fairly high. As my experience with any single person grows, I reserve the right to modify my opinion and evaluation of that person’s actions and words. Race has nothing to do with it, unless race is the excuse that a person uses for uncivilized and abusive behavior. But that’s their call, not mine.

    • Respect is earned. I know other races have their problems but the elephant in the room is blacks. You don’t really hear about shootouts at memorials in rural Missouri no do you…

    • That’s the patronizing way of guilt ridden whites. Their unstated drift is that blacks are too dumb to be in charge of any of their actions and black gang bangers play along with that when it serves their purpose. Lately, that seems to be most of the time.

  4. This proves that complying works. Think of the ungodly number of “felon with a gun” charges that most of these types rack up in their careers. If cops were looking for any excuse to shoot they would all be in another statistic, no?

  5. Okay, let’s have some fun. I am perfectly willing to believe Meyers was a bad dude and threatened the officer with death or severe bodily injury. I don’t doubt for a minute that he actually had a firearm.

    But…let’s step back and take a look at the wording in these official statements/documents:

    “Officer X was within his legal rights to patrol the neighborhood and attempt to secure the safety of all citizens.”

    That second clause is boilerplate nonsense.

    “Officer X was acting as a police officer”

    Just playing one on TV? He was ACTING as a police officer? Who writes this stuff?

    “while working a department-approved secondary shift.”

    I really don’t care about dept. personnel scheduling policies in a deadly force discussion…unless it is really germane to the discussion.

    “Upon seeing a group of individuals who had appeared to run from him,”

    Wait. What? Did the group of individuals run from Officer X or not? They appeared run from him, but they really didn’t?

    “Officer X pursued a person.”

    A simple fact, but really, whoop-de-doo?

    “Based on his recorded statement to police, Officer X believed the person he first chased was the same person he later shot. That appears to be incorrect.”

    So, why is the group apparently running and that X chased “a person” relevant? This smacks of the writer trying to ‘sell’ a narrative at this point.

    “A GPS device located on Myers’ person appears to confirm Myers’ presence at home on Castleman Ave. at the time Officer X told investigators he was pursuing a person.”

    So, good. There has been precisely nothing of substantial relevance to the actual shooting mentioned so far, except that Officer X was ‘acting as a cop’ and working a secondary shift that was departmentally approved.

    “Prosecutors reviewed every aspect of the incident and determined Officer X’s actions were reasonable under Missouri laws, for the following reasons.”

    What actions? That he chased “a person” and told investigators that at the time he thought that person was Meyers? So what?

    “Officer X encountered Myers and Myers’ acquaintances on Shaw Blvd. a short time after the initial pursuit. Officer X was met with hostility from Myers”

    Ah, now we are FINALLY getting to the meat of the actual relevant encounter.

    So, he was met with “hostility” from Meyers. I gotta admit…I kinda wonder what that actually means.

    So, at this point, we know someone ran from Officer X (but we don’t know WHY…) and that Officer X later encountered someone he thought was that person who was hostile to him.

    Do we have any ACTUAL LAWS broken yet?

    “and Myers did not comply with the officer’s commands.”

    What commands? Did Officer X “command” him to get on his knees and provide a service to Officer X? Or, did he “command” him to empty his pockets with no specific reasonable articulable suspicion?

    Seriously, the gyrations the writer went through to justify Officer X’s presence at that scene suggests at least the ability to give us something more specific than “did not comply with … commands.”

    We have 35 words justifying why Officer X was where he was at the time of the first foot chase, yet we can’t get anything more specific than “commands?”

    $SPIDEY_SENSE = tingling

    “Myers was grabbing at his waistband, according to Officer X, giving the officer reasonable suspicion that Myers had a firearm.”

    Now we are getting somewhere. Half a Shakespearean play into this thing, and we FINALLY have some actual gosh darn “reasonable articulable suspicion” for some action by the cop.

    “The officer, therefore, had the legal right to attempt to detain Myers for further questioning.”

    Fair enough. Just so long as it was not because Meyers was “hostile” and failed to obey Officer X’s “commands” that we have heard so much about.

    “Myers’ acquaintances confirm that Myers and the officer engaged in a physical altercation, and they confirm that Myers ran away. At that point in time, Officer X had probable cause to give chase in an attempt to detain Myers for assault on a law enforcement officer.”

    Here’s where I am going to balk a bit.

    Why does ‘big law’ Meyers has ‘probably’ broken “Assault on a Law Enforcement Officer” rather than just “assault.”

    First instance of “Crime against the Almighty State.” We’ve had suggestions of non-compliance and open hostility to an agent of the state, so the narrative here is shaping up to be that this case hinges on the “How Dare He” line of reasoning.

    I don’t want to think this in this particular case, but that’s how I’m reading it.

    “Officer X did not have the legal right to use deadly force at this point in time.”

    Well, no shit. Thanks for that. Thanks for throwing that bone to morality.

    “As soon as Myers produced a gun, however, under the law, the officer’s rights changed.”

    Well, no they didn’t, really. Perhaps this is a semantic quibble, but the officer ALWAYS had the right to use deadly force if his life was put into immediate danger. That right did not “change” at the moment of the danger.

    It’s this kind of wording and structuring of the argument that makes this whole thing smack of a ‘narrative’ rather than an objective statement.

    “For a number of reasons, prosecutors concluded Myers produced a gun. Witnesses confirm there was gunfire coming from both directions and from two different guns at the scene. Ballistics evidence confirms that two different guns were fired at the scene.”

    We’ve read this far and this is the first bit of actual evidence of anything that has been presented. So, this part is cool, and does not look good for any claims on Meyers’ behalf.

    “There is no evidence that Officer X was the person who fired both guns.”

    So what? Lack of evidence is not evidence it did not happen.

    “No witness claims to have seen Officer X alter evidence in any way, such as throw down a gun, wipe away evidence, fire a weapon in any direction other than towards the gangway or scatter casings.”

    So what? Lack of evidence is not evidence it did not happen.

    “Additionally, there are witnesses that describe how Myers came into possession of the Smith and Wesson firearm.”

    Kinda a so what, but okay…if they are willing to say the gun at the scene was the gun they know how he came to possess, it sorta shoots any kind of ‘cop threw it down’ theory in the face.

    “At the moment Myers pulled the gun, Officer X could have reasonably believed under the law that deadly force was necessary to effect the arrest.”

    Bull. Freaking. Shit.

    Deadly force is necessary to self defense and self defense alone. It is not for “arrest.”

    So, think about this statement. Deadly force…DEADLY force…was necessary to effect ARREST? What was Officer X going to do? Arrest the corpse?

    More statist crap creeping into this report. That’s two good examples.

    “Further, Officer X had reasonable belief that Myers had committed or was attempting to commit a felony,”

    What felony was that? Carrying the gun itself? So, a malum prohibitum felony? One of those?

    Yeah, those are fun.

    “and/or that Myers was attempting to escape by use of a deadly weapon and/or that Myers was otherwise endangering life.”

    So, very little else in this report matters to a hill of shit, then, right?

    The only thing that matters is that Meyers attempted to cause death or severe bodily injury to Officer X or others. Period.

    So, why the hard sell?

    “Officer X, however, did not fire his gun when he first saw Myers draw his weapon.”

    So, Officer X potentially has poor judgment? Ye Good Ole Ferguson Effect is gonna get cops killed.

    “He told investigators that he hesitated to make sure that it was a gun.”

    So, he was lucky, then? Good thing he told the investigators the politically correct answer. Again…this just smacks too much of a narrative to me.

    That does not mean I think Officer X is lying about any of it or that it was a ‘bad shoot.’ But good grief, when agents of the .gov go to this length to trip over themselves, it makes it that much harder to trust.

    Plain Language. It’s a thing they should try more. “Just the facts, ma’am.”

    • Slow clap. Comment more please. Sometimes the republican brand statism here is too much for this libertarian.

    • I kind of skimmed the article and was going to post guessing at the guy’s collection (Sigma, Colt Mustang, some kind of 1911?), But then I saw your post confirming it was a Smith.

      Well analyzed, thanks for disassembling the report for us!

    • The language strikes me strongly as mirroring that which is used in court to establish the elements of a case- specifically, a self-defense shooting. As part of a self-defense assertion one must occupy a place legally, for example. And the part about arrest is also legalese… when a police officer shoots a suspected criminal, he has seized\arrested him in the parlance of Tennessee v. Garner. That’s what an officer may not shoot someone without at least probable cause (the standard for arrest).

      I get your point, though, someone should have taken the legal theory jargon and replaced it with something that makes more sense to a non-lawyer.

    • You need to stop pretending that preceding events are irrelevant to the use of force. They are, and your lawyer isn’t good enough to convince the judge otherwise.

      • Wrong.

        Ability, opportunity and jeopardy considerations in deadly force cases depend solely on those elements existing at the time deadly force was used. You might be conflating the use of ‘self defense’ as a positive defense with establishing whether or not deadly force was justified. Those are clearly separate legal issues.

        Hannibal is correct, though. All the preceding stuff is legaleze present only to establish a formal set of tick boxes in the form of establishing jurisdiction and the cop having a ‘legal right to be where he was,’ etc.

        Look at it this way. NONE of the prior foot chase or working secondary shift crap has anything whatsoever to do with whether Meyers had a ham sandwich or a firearm. If he had had a ham sandwich, Officer X saw it as such and shot him anyway…would deadly force have been justified even though ALL the other ancillary facts are exactly the same?

        If you say “Yes” to that, well…that’s just insane. And immoral. And probably illegal.

        The bottom line is that all the panty twisting over irrelevant facts are nothing but deflection away from the basics: ability, opportunity and jeopardy at the moment of the deadly encounter. Shifting the focus on irrelevancies is what allows the MSM and race baiters to make hay out of all these cases in the first place.

        Keeping the focus on what is actually relevant is what ultimately saved Wilson’s bacon in Ferguson, and what ultimately saved Zimmerman in Florida.

    • I only noticed one thing I think you missed. The description of the actual fatal encounter as being “a short time” after the initially described pursuit rubs me the wrong way, like, a lot. We apparently accept evidence that he was at home complying with the court’s direction at the time of that pursuit. Some period of time later, he left home (no inference that he was now violating that direction), met up with some friends, purchased and consumed a ham sandwich, and was then accosted by this cop, who believed he was a different person, one who had not committed any crime that we know of. That does not sound like “a short time” to me. It also does not sound like the cop had any probable cause to approach the kid in any way, and if he had been minding his own business he would have never suspected Myers was armed, whole incident would not have happened. There is a real good chance Myers would be dead by now anyhow, because he was a punk, but it does not sound to me that he should have died hat day.

    • Have you read any of the really poorly written articles in the news in recent years (ie the era of the internet)? This piece sounds as if it was written by Faulkner compared to the shit that currently passes as a news article.

  6. I second the suggestion that Jr in Nc comment more
    Hannibal and Larry in Texas made good points also
    My opinion changed from “good riddance to bad rubbish” to cop shoots hostile black person after mistaken identity
    Black person armed and violating house arrest but cop did not know that
    If cop did not harrass hostile black person, no one would be dead

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