Updated Sunday, 9:25 p.m.:
Ferguson, Missouri, police said Sunday a black youth shot to death Saturday struggled with an officer inside a car, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported. He was then shot multiple times as he ran away. The Justice Department said attorneys in its civil rights division would monitor the case.
Amid growing calls for justice, Internet and social media users are seeking answers as to why a black teenager was shot and killed by police near St. Louis on Saturday afternoon. The victim, who was reportedly unarmed, is being identified on social media as Michael Brown, 18, a recent high school graduate.
Authorities confirmed Brown was shot by police in Ferguson, Missouri, a predominately African-American suburb of St. Louis. Few details of the shooting are currently known, but Ferguson Police Chief Thomas Jackson told the AP a second person involved in the altercation is being questioned. As of yet, the person has not been arrested or charged.
Following news of the shooting, calls for justice spread quickly throughout the Internet on Saturday and continued into Sunday when Brown’s name trended on Twitter for several hours, along with hashtags such as #JusticeForMike. Several “Justice for Mike” pages popped up on Facebook as well, with one page amassing several hundred “likes” per hour as of Sunday afternoon. Another Facebook page had attracted nearly 4,000 likes before it was removed without explanation Sunday.
A photo of a man identified by the St. Louis Post-Dispatch as Louis Head -- Brown’s stepfather -- was widely circulated on Twitter and Facebook Sunday. In it, the man is holding a sign that reads “Ferguson police just executed my unarmed son!!!”
What the hell is going on in Ferguson?! pic.twitter.com/S5Yjnns6bU
â€” Tammie Holland (@TammieHolland) August 9, 2014
The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported Brown was a 2014 graduate of Normandy High School and was scheduled to begin classes on Monday at Vatterott College career training institute. Shortly after the shooting, hundreds of outraged Ferguson residents spilled out of their apartments and confronted local authorities, shouting obscenities and threating comments like “kill the police.” About 100 protesters also gathered outside Ferguson police headquarters chanting, “No Justice! No Peace!” the Post-Dispatch reported.
John Gaskin, a member of the St. Louis County NAACP, likened the incident to the deaths of Trayvon Martin in Florida and Eric Garner in New York, the latter of whom died at the hands of the NYPD after an altercation in Staten Island last month. AP reported Gaskin said the FBI should intervene quickly to “protect the integrity” of the investigation into Brown’s death. “With the recent events of a young man killed by the police in New York City and with Trayvon Martin and with all the other African-American young men that have been killed by police officers ... this is a dire concern to the NAACP, especially our local organization,” Gaskin said.