The St. Louis Police Department’s investigation into the shooting death of Vonderrit Myers Jr., ends with a decision not to seek charges against the officer who shot and killed the 18-year-old on October 8. Myers was shot and killed by a city officer working a secondary job as a security guard in the Shaw neighborhood.
“I believe whatever they concluded was false,” said VonDerrit Myers Sr., the teenager`s father.
To believe the version of events Vonderrit Myers Jr.`s parents believe, you have to be willing to believe police are staging a sinister cover-up.
“He did not have a gun at all,” said Syreeta Myers, Vonderrit Myers Jr.`s mother. When asked by a reporter where she though the gun reportedly found at scene and allegedly used by her son came from, she replied, “the police.”
The police have maintained all along Myers had a gun and was firing at the officer, making the officer`s use of deadly force justified. Police also say there was gunpowder residue on Myers, and that several shell casings matching the gun police allege he had, were found nearby, confirming the allegation Myers shot at the officer.
But unlike other St. Louis City police shootings, this is the first to be reviewed by the newly formed Force Investigative Unit.
Under the new rules, when the FIU finishes its investigation, the unit`s findings automatically go to the circuit attorney for a separate review.
“We are going to take a look at everything the police provided to us because they have fully investigated it,” said St. Louis Circuit Attorney Jennifer Joyce. “But, we can also go out and talk to witnesses, we can do other investigation, we have lots of resources at our disposal, and I have five top prosecutors on this case including one Assistant U.S. Attorney who is a another entity looking at this,” she said.
But, if that process ends with anything short of a murder charge, the Myers family will not be satisfied, because they are convinced their son`s death simply could not have happened the way police say it did.
“We are not saying our kid was a saint, you understand, that is not the fact that all, but we know him more than anybody knows him and we had several different people tell us what happened, and they all had the same story,” said Myers Sr.
The Myers family attorney, Jermaine Wooten, says those witnesses say Myers Jr. did not have a gun.
“Even witnesses who did not like Vonderrit, who were very adamant and said even though I don`t like the kid, I did not see him with a gun,” Wooten said.
The circuit attorney met with the Myers family to assure them her investigation will be fair and independent.
“I am pretty comfortable that I have a track record of holding police accountable when they commit crimes,” Joyce said. “I’ve been in this job 14 years and have had plenty of occasions to do that.”
In the meantime, the Myers family has hired a private investigator to try to find more witnesses.
And the circuit attorney hopes if there are more witnesses, they will get in touch with her office to make sure she has all the information needed to make a fair decision.