ST LOUIS (Reuters) - Police in the United States city of St Louis faced angry crowds after fatally shooting a black teenager who they say pointed a gun at them, reigniting racial tensions first sparked by the killing of an unarmed black teen in another Missouri town a year ago.
St Louis Police Chief Sam Dotson said the shooting took place on Wednesday when young black men ran out the back door of a house where officers were carrying out a search warrant.
Officers ordered the pair to stop in an alley behind the house. One suspect pointed a gun at officers who then fired four times, killing him, Mr Dotson said. "Detectives were looking for guns, looking for violent felons, looking for people that have been committing crimes in the neighborhood," he said.
Police identified the slain suspect as Mansur Ball-Bey, 18. The second youth fled.
Crowds gathered at a nearby intersection shortly after the shooting and then again in the evening. Three people were arrested for blocking traffic, the police said.
NBC television affiliate KSDK reported that some in the crowd threw rocks at officers, who responded with what appeared to be tear gas.
St Louis television station Fox 2 showed officers in riot gear lined up across a street, a burning a mattress and clouds of smoke or tear gas.
St Louis Alderman Antonio French posted on Twitter that a vacant house and a car were set on fire, and that firefighters were working under heavy police guard.
Mr Dotson told reporters the Ball-Bey's gun was stolen and said officers recovered crack cocaine at the scene.
St Louis police said the officers involved in the shooting were white, aged 33 and 29, each with about seven years on the force. They are on administrative leave.
A 93-year-old member of the Tuskegee Airmen, a black aviation unit from World War II, was robbed and carjacked in the neighborhood on Sunday. A woman was also killed in the area this week.
The shooting came 10 days after St Louis was flooded with protesters marking the anniversary of the killing of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown by a white police officer on Aug 9 last year in Ferguson, not far from St Louis.
Brown's death helped spark a nationwide movement against what protesters say is police violence against minorities.
Wednesday's shooting also came as activists were in the area to mark the anniversary of the police shooting of another black man in St Louis, Mr Kajieme Powell.
Police say officers shot Mr Powell when he approached them with a knife.