ST. LOUIS: Officer involved in shooting outside Ferguson, MO - WAFB 9 News Baton Rouge, Louisiana News, Weather, Sports

St. Louis cops shoot, kill man in incident near Ferguson, MO

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Police respond to a fatal shooting involving two St. Louis city police officers. (NBC News) Police respond to a fatal shooting involving two St. Louis city police officers. (NBC News)
A map shows the location of an officer-involved shooting in St. Louis and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. (NBC News) A map shows the location of an officer-involved shooting in St. Louis and the fatal shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. (NBC News)
ST. LOUIS -

Two St. Louis city police officers shot and killed a man who came within several feet of them brandishing a knife on Tuesday a few miles from the turbulent suburb of Ferguson, authorities said.

A crowd of at least 100 people quickly gathered at the scene. Some people chanted, "Hands up! Don't shoot!" -- the refrain from a week of protests over the police killing of Michael Brown, an unarmed black teenager, three miles away.

The 23-year-old man in the St. Louis shooting, who was also black, had taken energy drinks and a package of pastries from a nearby convenience store, Police Chief Sam Dotson told reporters. He said that the man was "acting erratically, walking back and forth, up and down the street."

The chief said that the officers repeatedly ordered the man to drop the knife and drew their weapons after he did not drop it. The chief said the man told the police: "Shoot me now. Kill me now."

He said the two officers fired after the man moved toward one of them and came within 3 to 4 feet.

"One of the witnesses described it as a suicide by cop," Dotson said.

There was a heavy police presence at the scene, and police marked off the intersection with yellow tape. Antonio French, a St. Louis alderman who was arrested last week during protests over the Brown killing, urged the crowd to maintain peace.

"The last thing we need is violence in our neighborhood," he said. "And that's not going to be on the police to make sure there's not violence in our neighborhood, that's going to be on us. No silliness here."

He said that he had much more confidence in St. Louis city police than in Ferguson police, and promised to work with the department to make sure there was not a "heavy-handed response" to any protests.

In Ferguson, protesters were confronted by a government "that quickly treated them like the enemy," French told NBC affiliate KSDK.

"I think we have a different situation here, handled much better," he said. "This is not Ferguson."

The police shooting of Brown on Aug. 9 in Ferguson touched off more than a week of protests and clashes between police and demonstrators. Gov. Jay Nixon ordered the National Guard in on Monday to back up the state Highway Patrol and local police.

Asked about tensions in the St. Louis area, the chief said: "I think anyone who has been watching television over the last week has to be concerned. ... I think it's important people understand what happened."

The chief stayed on the scene after the shooting, talking to people who gathered. He said police were examining video and asking anyone else with video to come forward.

Copyright 2014 NBC News. All rights reserved.

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