Gunshot residue tests and ballistics evidence indicate that 18-year-old Vonderitt D. Myers Jr. fired a gun at a St. Louis Metro police officer before being fatally shot, police and union officials said Tuesday.
Although police officials have already said that Myers fired at least three shots at an off-duty police officer before the officer returned fire, the newly released evidence could further dispel claims by friends and family that Myers was holding a sandwich, not a gun, when he was shot. The officer, who has not been named, was working for a private security company in the Shaw neighborhood.
Myers' Oct. 8 death sparked protests in Shaw and fueled area-wide protests that have combined with the protests resulting from the Aug. 9 shooting of 18-year-old Michael Brown by a Ferguson police officer.
The Missouri Highway Patrol analysis found gunshot residue on Myers' hands, on his shirt and inside the waistband and pockets of his jeans. Police said that although gunshot residue can be present on anyone near a shooting, the results show levels consistent with Myers being the shooter, because the police officer was standing too far away.
Ballistics evidence also revealed three bullets that hit the ground where the officer was trying to take cover matched Myers' gun. A round found inside a car behind the officer was too badly damaged to be able to match it to his gun, however, it did not match the type of bullets the officer fired, police said.
Several photographs showing Myers holding three guns, including one that looked like the stolen Smith & Wesson gun recovered at the scene, circulated on social media after his death. The police officer's attorney, Brian Millikan, told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his client recognized both Myers and the distinctive, two-tone semiautomatic in the pictures.