ST. LOUIS - Two months after a Ferguson officer killed Michael Brown, setting offnational debate about law enforcement treatment of minorities, the shooting death of another black 18-year-old by police in nearby St. Louis reignited anger among activists already planning weekend protests.
Police say Vonderrit D. Myers was shot Wednesday after he opened fire on a white, off-duty officer with a stolen gun, but Myers' parents say he was unarmed. Some activists and lawmakers say Myers was targeted because he was black and are asking the Justice Department - which has opened a civil rights investigation into the death of Brown, who was unarmed - to investigate his shooting.
The 32-year-old officer, a six-year veteran of the department whose name was not released, is on paid administrative leave pending an investigation.
"This here was racial profiling turned deadly," said state Sen. Jamilah Nasheed, D-St. Louis.
The Ferguson case was on protesters' minds as they gathered after Wednesday's shooting. Some shouted, "Hands up, don't shoot," a common refrain during weeks of sometimes violent protests after Brown's death.
Myers' shooting happened as activists and protesters from across the country prepared for four days of rallies, marches and protests over the Brown shooting. Organizers say the events, which start today and include a march Saturday in downtown St. Louis, have taken on added urgency.
"This is a racial powder keg," said Jerryl Christmas, a St. Louis lawyer who was among black leaders who joined Nasheed at a news conference Thursday.
Late Thursday, about 200 people gathered for a candlelight remembrance where Myers was shot. Later, protesters shut down a major street.